Good things happen when you wear the right shoes!
The Key Theatre panto is a tradition for most families in the city and has long been a Michael Cross production as it is this year.
Michael starred as the dame for many years and continues to write and direct the shows which always have a distinctive Peterborough theme and bags of laughs. As it’s a smaller theatre The Key panto is a more intimate show so you can really feel a part of the action and even influence some of what happens on stage!
Sharon McAllister caught up with Michael for the latest on this Christmas favourite…
“The titles come round in fairly strict rotation and so this year it was the turn of Cinderella – always one of the most popular stories.”
What makes the Key panto the one to see?
“The Key’s great intimate auditorium is always the star attraction. Excellent viewing from every seat. The space always ensures that everyone is part of the action.”
One of the great things about the Key panto is always the local references… can we expect more of the same?
“Oh yes there will! That’s the joy of working with local actors within the company.”
Will there be any surprises?
“Of course – but I can’t tell you what they are!”
Are rehearsals a stress and how do the cast cope with the intense run of performances?
“We have a longer rehearsal period this year and that’s helped enormously but there’s still a lot to do and the last few days are always tight. The cast cope with the run because good audiences will always give them an adrenaline rush and the energy to do a good show – with everyone having fun.”
Who makes the best dame – you in your heyday or the current one?
“The Key has enjoyed a great line up of fantastic dames – going right back to the ones I remember as a young man – Allan Walsh and Chris Macdonnell. I was lucky to be part of that tradition. My successor – Patric Kearns continued that work beautifully and our ugly sisters this year – Joe Morrow and Simon Naylor – are creating a pair of wonderfully mean and funny sisters. I am sure that audiences will enjoy them very much.”
What’s the funniest thing you can recall happening in one of your pantos?
“Oh! There are so many. One year though I remember our panto ponies escaped onto the embankment. The crew chased them for quite some time before they were caught.”
Have you ever had a disaster during a show?
“Fortunately most disasters in panto provide the best laughs – both cast and audience enjoy things going wrong. One year however we did have a power cut halfway through act one. Everyone went home as we were advised that it would be several hours before it went back on. We played an extra show later in the run.”
For those who think they don’t like panto, what’s your message to them?
“Bring a child along and watch it through their eyes. It is a magical experience – and it can bring out the child in almost everyone.”
Cinderella runs at The Key Theatre from Thursday December 5 to Sunday January 5 packed with good clean, family fun. With over 30 years of experience the team has a great reputation and this year’s magical tale will be the perfect festive treat! There are various performances and concessions available and a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children for £48.
Book now on 01733 207239.