Oh yes it is that time of the year again as preparations for this year’s Telford pantomime get under way.
The production of Sleeping Beauty will be starring comedy legend Bernie Clifton and gets under way later this year.
The entertainer who found fame as the “Ostrich Jockey” lost no time in kicking off the jokes and laughter at the launch event with the leading cast members at Oakengates Theatre yesterday.
Hot on the heels of his appearance on BBC’s The Voice earlier this year, the veteran entertainer will be playing sidekick Muddles in the show.
The timeless fairytale classic will be brought to life by Shone Production Ltd.
Bernie says he is looking forward to the performances which will feature plenty of traditional slapstick action as well as special effects.
“I am looking forward to seeing all the crowds especially when they turn up with three different generations of the same family enjoying the panto,” he said.
“It’s great to see the children, their parents and grandparents come and experience the magic of it all. People can come to the panto from all walks of life and be closeted in this fantastic world and most of all have fun.
“All I can say is that manager James Shone is bringing all the technology with him and the show is going to be fantastic. It is a marriage of the traditional theatre and the magic that it represents and modern 21st century technology.
“There is a lot of excitement to be had and lots of laughter and that’s where I come in. I’ve done panto every year for 40 years. It’s hard work doing three shows a day, but I still get a buzz out of it,” Bernie said.
All of his stage colleagues said they were delighted for the opportunity to work with the veteran comedian, who was mentored by Ken Dodd.
He joined the Prince – Matt Brinkler; the King – Wink Taylor, of the Sooty Show fame; the Fairy – Wendy Abrahams; Shropshire born Dame – Craig Cowdroy; and Princess Beauty – Telford’s own Xenna Kristian; at yesterday’s launch.
Mr Cowdroy, also a singer, said: “This is like coming home for me. I was born in Cressage and I have have family in Shrewsbury. It will be fun to work with the community in Telford who will be coming to enjoy the panto. The panto is the first taste that children get of the theatre. It’s great to see the faces of two and three-year-olds and how they get rapt in excitement.
“There will be plenty of slapstick and pies being thrown as part of the story and it’s going to be a hoot.”
Rehearsals for the show will start in early November. Performances will run from December 7 to 31 at the theatre, in The Place.
Booking details are available on 01952 382382.