Dame’s last reign
Dare I say it, but winter is creeping up on us and that in my eyes means one thing. Pantomime season!
Kenneth Alan Taylor has written and performed at Nottingham Playhouse for 30 years, and this year it is his last performance as the Dame. Oh yes it is!
Tom and I were lucky enough to attend the countdown to the launch of Jack and the Beanstalk, this year’s pantomime at Nottingham Playhouse. We were even luckier to put some questions to Kenneth Alan Taylor and Rebecca Little, who has performed in 12 pantomimes at the venue and this year will play Jack.
Why is this year your final ever Dame performance? Honestly, I have to say my age. It can be very tiring with all the costume changes. I just feel it’s a good time to stop.
If you had to pick one, what would you say has been the most unusual moment on stage while you have been performing? The most memorable has to be 30 years ago during the first night performance of Jack and the Beanstalk. At the time, the beanstalk was held up by a wire and during the song when the beanstalk was growing, just as it was reaching its peak, the wire snapped and the beanstalk came crashing down, which for those who know the story was to be a problem as Jack is to climb the stalk. Behind the scene staff ordered the front curtain to come down so that the scenery could be fixed, and the actors had to ad-lib for five or so minutes.
What has been your favourite Dame costume during your reign? It definitely has to be the walk down costume for Sleeping Beauty, which had a massive train that four girls had to carry. It was supposedly my final year and so the designer planned for a massive finale. It was so heavy though!
What will you miss the most about performing? I will definitely miss getting the laughs, and working with young people. I will really miss the people! However I will not miss having to put on make-up twice a day.
In one word, describe the Nottingham Playhouse as a venue to perform in. Home!
Out of 10, how amazing are the Nottingham Playhouse pantomime audiences? They are fantastic, just like a family. A definite 10 out of 10.
Have you planned anything special to go out with a bang for this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk? There is to be a Gala Evening which is full of surprises to mark 50 years of theatre and 30 years of pantomime.
Kenneth Alan Taylor added that he was actually attending a meeting afterwards to discuss plans and surprises of the event. He had a few in his mind, but it was too early days to announce anything officially.
What is your favourite place in Nottinghamshire? Nottingham Playhouse! But, alongside that I do love Wollaton Park. In fact I used to love going for walks there on Sundays. Surprisingly, I have never been to Sherwood Forest.
What’s it been like performing together and what will you miss? (Question for Rebecca Little) Kenneth Alan Taylor IS Mr Panto, you just know you’re in safe hands with him. He’s a lot of fun and I remember one year he pulled my wig off on stage, so to retaliate I came back on wearing one of his wigs!
As long as I can remember, Kenneth Alan Taylor has written and performed as the Dame in the Nottingham Playhouse pantomimes. The humour will have you in stitches and charisma of the actors is always outstanding. I loved it when I was younger, and I will definitely be attending this year.
This event is one for the whole family, and Jack and the Beanstalk is not one to be missed. Don’t miss the Dame’s last reign!
Visit the Nottingham Playhouse website for more details on the event.