‘Cruising’ star Jane McDonald travels to the luxurious London Palladium ‘Robin Hood’ Panto, starring Julian Clary within the title position

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EXCLUSIVE: Comic and author julian clary (Julian Clary: Reside – Mince Lord) will play the primary position within the festive season London Palladium Pantomime Robin Hoodwith singer and journey present host. Jane McDonald (On a cruise with Jane McDonald) headlining the invoice as Maid Marion.

The annual Palladium honest, now in its ninth consecutive season, has develop into a extremely anticipated staple on the West Finish calendar. It is going to run from December 7 to January 12, 2025. Precedence reserving opens at 10am (GMT) on April 25.

Final yr’s manufacturing Peter Panwith comedy legend Jennifer Saunders (Completely fabulous, French and Saunders.) making his pantomime debut as Captain Hook, and with Clary enjoying Seaman Smee, was a sell-out success, performing 56 performances (usually two a day) to an viewers of over 123,000 on the capability music corridor. for two,200 individuals.

When tickets went on sale, there was a time when 90,000 individuals have been queuing up ready their flip to order seats.

“That is greater than any 02 live performance and another West Finish present,” boasted Michael Harrison, who directs and writes the Palladium theater in collaboration with Clary.

London Palladium. Picture by Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.

This yr’s present, produced by Crossroads Pantomimes, of which Harrison is chief government and David Ian is president, includes a forged of regulars and newcomers.

Paul Zerdin returns (Muppet Treasure Island) and Nigel Havers (Hearth vehicles), this yr enjoying Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck.

Marisha Wallace, who appeared within the Man Ritchie movie Aladdinwas nominated for an Olivier Award for her Adelaide in Nicholas Hytner’s wonderful revival of Boys and dolls on the Puente Theater. She makes her panto bow because the present’s villain, the Sheriff of Nottingham. West Finish audiences met her when she performed Effie in dream ladies on the Savoy Theater.

Charlie Stemp, who’s coming off his third Olivier nomination this yr for Loopy for You, returns to the Palladium as Alan-A-Dale. Earlier than Loopy for YouStemp was nominated for the Cameron Waterproof coat productions of Half sixpence and disney Mary Poppins. Beginning June 4, Stemp joins Adrian Dunbar (Achievement of your obligation) and Broadway’s Stephanie J. Block (Within the woods) in director Bartlett Sher’s manufacturing of Cole Porter. Kiss me, Kate within the Barbican.

Comedian artist Rob Madge (My son is a faggot (However what are you able to do?), who isn’t any stranger to pantomime antics on the Palladium, returns because the Spirit of Sherwood.

Tosh Wanoghu-Maud, standing over six ft tall, debuts as Little John. I have been a fan of Wanogh-Maud since I noticed him as younger Simba in The Lion King, which nonetheless performs earlier than robust homes within the Liceo. Most just lately, the actor wowed as Ben E. King and Rudy Lewis in The wandering woman, starring Beverly Knight.

Pantomimes courtesy of Crossroads.

Harrison instructed me he wished to have a yr the place Clary may play the lead position, “as a result of clearly he is central to every part. However he by no means performs the lead position. He is all the time type of an inward-looking supporting position, though the present is all the time about him.”

Pantomimes courtesy of Crossroads.

The panto king shared that he thought it will be humorous to have Robin Hood performed by the well-known Camp Clary and pair him with McDonald. The artist kicks it. With all my love live performance tour at Blackpool Opera Home on October 11.

“Jane jumped on the alternative,” Harrison mentioned.

“I mentioned, ‘Look, are you able to think about you and Julian Clary in love?’ “Discuss Robin Hood’s camp.”

McDonald has an enormous following within the UK, due to her. Cruise and different journey tv exhibits, together with her jane and mates selection present and 20 years, ending in 2023, as host of free girls. Not too long ago stopped by to look at an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs. the World.

Jane McDonald. Picture courtesy of Jane McDonald.

Harrison instructed me that Clary loves the thought of ​​enjoying Robin Hood, though he will not be as beefy as those that have performed the outlaw on the large display. I am considering of Kevin Costner in prince of thievesRussell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s courageous movie. Robin Hoodand Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn in robin and marion, enjoying the well-known lovers of their twilight. The primary tv Robin Hood It was Richard Greene in The Adventures of Robin Hood. It was on repeat when I discovered it throughout my childhood. And let’s not overlook Errol Flynn, with Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, operating in Michael Curtis’s 1938 Swashbuckler. The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Harrison laughed after which shook his head. “I’ve a humorous feeling that Robin Hood, performed by Julian, will get Al-A-Dale to do plenty of the soiled work on this manufacturing.

“I believe Alan-A-Dale is likely to be the one to shoot the bow and arrow.”

Harrison acknowledged that a part of the enchantment of the Palladium pantomime is its familiarity, though he admitted that “there’s all the time the criticism that it is all the time the identical factor. Nicely, I believe individuals need the identical factor, but in addition a bit of completely different, and this yr it is going to be a bit of completely different.”

Every year, award-winning designer Hugh Durrant, in session with Clary, makes an attempt to prime the earlier yr’s gloriously extravagant costumes. “There are large creations within the works proper now, all associated to Sherwood and the forest,” Harrison promised.

Julian Clary at Jack and the Beanstalk, London Palladium 2022. Picture by Paul Coltas.

I hesitated for a second earlier than asking, however I puzzled if Clary was carrying a gown or a tunic and stockings.

“He will likely be dressed within the Robin Hood costume, however all on a big scale,” Harrison mentioned.

He famous that Clary is doing her present on stage, “after which she comes off stage backstage and it is one other manufacturing with the costumes. Generally it may well take as much as three dressing rooms to suit a dressing up. “These units are nice scenic items.”

Julian Clary at Goldilocks, London Palladium 2019. Picture by Paul Coltas.

It isn’t that Clary is complaining.

With a wink, Harrison instructed me that Clary “is wanting ahead to working along with her Merry Males.”

Julian Clary’s in final yr’s Palladium panto Peter Pan. Picture by Paul Coltas.

My social media feeds are full of individuals seeking to discover out the title of this yr’s Palladium pantomime.

Harrison famous that “the viewers is sort of a member of the forged they usually present up in that spirit, so I believe we get away with issues that perhaps usually you would not do.”

Though we each hate the phrase “woke,” Harrison agreed that the Palladium pantomime “is a woke-free zone.”

The clamor for tickets final yr was such that Harrison, in settlement with Palladium proprietor Andrew Lloyd Webber, determined to permit standing room in the back of the Palladium stalls. Nevertheless, it brought on a stir on the first screening, when the inventive group couldn’t stay of their typical locations as a result of there was a common public.

“If solely we had 5 extra rows,” Harrison mused jokingly.

The manufacturing firm has an intense season, with Imelda Staunton’s flip Howdy Dolly! opening on the Palladium for a restricted interval from July 6 to September 14, and the switch to Broadway of Sundown Boulevard, opening on the St. James Theater from September 28, starring Nicole Scherzinger and Tom Francis, recent from final weekend’s wins on the Olivier Awards on the Royal Albert Corridor. The present received a complete of seven Olivier Awards, together with Greatest Musical Revival for Lloyd Webber, Don Black, Christopher Hampton, The Jamie Lloyd Firm from director Jamie Lloyd, Adam Speers and the Ambassador Theater Group, and Lloyd Webber Harrison Musicals, the corporate shaped by Lloyd Webber and Harrison to additional exploit the composer’s work.

A Lloyd Webber revival starlight specific, directed by Luke Sheppard, can be supervised by Harrison. Sheppard’s current productions embody life assist musical Only for at some pointand The little large issuesthrough which Amy Trigg received the Olivier Award for Greatest Supporting Actress in a Musical.

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