Q&A with the Panto cast!
We sat down with our Dick Whittington cast and asked what they thought of Winchester, what they love about Christmas – and of course the best bits of Panto!
Ed Thorpe... Dick Whittington
Julian Eardley... Dame Dolly Dumpling
Jessie Angell... The Cat
Kristopher Milnes... King Rat
Joanna Brown... Alice Fitzwarren
Jon Bonner... Alderman / Captain / Sultan
Libby Gore... Fairy Bow Bells
In your career, how many pantos have you starred in?
Jessie: This is my first!
Julian: 17 (don’t ask!)
Libby: This will be my sixth!
Kris: six now, three as a kid, three as an adult.
Jon: This is my sixth.
Ed: Dick Whittington will be my third, all of mine have been here in Winchester.
What has been your favourite character to play?
Kris: Bouffon in last year’s Beauty and the Beast. Joint with King Rat, of course!
Libby: Cinderella, but I’m starting to see that fairies have more fun!
Julian: Dame Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk, but I love all my dames.
Jon: I think probably Wishy Washy in Aladdin, my first panto; although I was an ugly sister in my last and that was fun.
What is your favourite interval treat?
Libby: Percy Pigs – although other sugary sweets are available!
Julian: A box (or two) or Maltesers!
Jessie: I have such a sweet tooth, but chocolate during a show isn't a good idea so dried mango is a good compromise!
Ed: You can’t beat the traditional tub of ice-cream.
Jon: A fresh cream chocolate eclair or rocky road made by my daughter.
What is your favourite panto joke?
Julian: Why do cows have cow bells? Because their horns don’t work!
Libby: ‘Lets sing a special Happy Birthday to Elsie – she’s one hundred and eleven today!’ *sing song* ‘Oh wait! No, she isn’t. She’s ill!’ The old ones are the best.
Jessie: An actor I know kept falling through the floor during a pantomime. I think it was just a stage he was going through!
Ed: (examining a whisk) ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m carrying out a whisk assessment!’
Why should people come and see Dick Whittington this Christmas?
Ed: Because it’s hilarious, heart-warming and a fun-filled family treat!
Jon: Panto is all about making people smile, having fun and great storytelling, and our panto has all these elements.
Julian: There’s lots of fun and a very beautiful older woman in the cast!
Jessie: It'll be the best thing you do! The script is hilarious, the songs are catchy, you'll leave with a big smile on your face.
Joanna: To share the Christmas magic! No-one ever regrets laughing too much.
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Jessie: Group tap number, halter neck dresses, no bra, straps popped. Hello audience! That was funny.
Julian: Ed Thorpe ruining my make-up with a water-pistol in Peter Pan.
Ed: Not closing my eyes and coating my eyeballs in flour in Beauty and the Beast!
Kris: We nearly had a bald Bouffon in last year's Beauty and the Beast as I was about to go on stage when our company manager pointed out I hadn’t put my big floppy wig on!
Libby: Cinders had just transformed into her ball gown when the beautiful pony pulling her carriage did a great big poo on stage!
Joanna: I got my boot caught in the hem of my underskirt and as the rest of the cast danced around me, I gracefully melted to the floor. Continuing to sing, now sitting consumed in a pool of purple fabric, I was like The Wicked Witch of the West! My corset was so tight I had to crawl on all fours to stand back up!
What makes your perfect Christmas?
Jessie: My whole family sat in front of the fire, mulled wine and The Grinch on TV.
Joanna: Friends, family, good food and fairy lights!
Libby: The songs, being with my family and the odd snowball.
Jon: Being with my family – along with eating lamb (yes, lamb) with all the trimmings, plenty of chocolate and a bottle of red!
Ed: Food, drink, carols, Panto and Winchester!
What would you like for Christmas this year?
Jessie: Ideally someone to pay off my newly-acquired student loan but I guess some new Doc Martens will do!
Jon: My real treat will hopefully be a pair of jeans – made from a Japanese denim!
Libby: World peace?
Kris: Love and laughter.
Julian: A foot massage and a new iPod!
What is your favourite Christmas story/movie/song/play - or all the above?
Jessie: The Grinch, A Christmas Carol, Last Christmas and, of course, All I Want For Christmas Is You.
Kris: Tough one! I worked on The Muppets Christmas Carol so it has to be that one!
Joanna: There are so many! A Christmas Carol, The Grinch, It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street.
Julian: The Muppets Christmas Carol.
Libby: The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole.
Jon: I’m very traditional and like the nativity aspect of Christmas so that ‘first’ Christmas is the story I enjoy. I have fond memories of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. But I also enjoy Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by Amy Grant with a superb guitar solo.
Ed: It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and The Muppets Christmas Carol (starring our very own Kris Milnes!).
What is your favourite thing about Winchester?
Jessie: I was born here, but have never been back so it seems apt I have my first job here! I LOVE how festive it is, the Cathedral is beautiful and the people friendly!
Kris – Of course the panto!
Joanna – The cobbled streets and the Cathedral at night/sunrise.
Ed – It’s commitment to the festive season and of course, the pantomime!
Julian - The tartiflette and gluhwein at the Christmas Market.
Dick Whittington rehearsal photos by BonPhotography