Go on a fantastic magical journey this Christmas at the panto | Vicky Meets
Bev BerridgePantomime producer and director
• After no panto last year, how does it feel to be back directing in Bognor Regis?
Panto is back in Bognor, we’re doing Jack and the Beanstalk and it’s going to be great! We’re very excited because it’s been a long time coming. We weren’t even sure if it could go ahead until fairly recently. But it is and people are going mad for it, which is really encouraging. This is the first time I’ve been back in the building for a long time and the management have made it so Covid safe and have really thorough cleaning routines in place, so people can feel really reassured about visiting. I think we all feel like we need to celebrate a bit this Christmas. What better way than coming together with family and friends to laugh and be silly at the pantomime?
• What can you tell us about this year’s show?
We know the audience in Bognor and we have worked hard to create a really fabulous family show; something that the whole family can enjoy together. There are not that many shows that you can all enjoy together, but a traditional panto works for everyone. You can expect silly jokes, cheering and booing, slapstick, songs, dance, laughter and a cracking story. Jack and the Beanstalk is a great panto because it has an exciting story with brilliant characters. It takes you on a fantastic magical journey.
• What other ingredients are needed for a successful panto?
You need to have the right balance of tradition and topicality. It has to be relevant to children, but also to have all the tradition that older audiences love too. Quality and pricing are also key. We have built a reputation for a first class, well priced show performed by really good actors here in Bognor. Panto sells out here now, which is a great accolade to the theatre and its staff and volunteers. So much work goes into putting a pantomime on.
• What will Christmas itself be like for you?
I’m directing three pantos this year; in Epsom, Motherwell in Scotland and here in Bognor. Last Christmas was weird. It was my first in 36 years with no panto. I spent the whole festive season at home with the family – it was awful! I’m joking, of course. But once all my shows are open I just go around watching everyone else doing the hard work.
• What is your favourite part of the directing process for pantomime?
My absolutely favourite part of the process is watching the first night and seeing the children absolutely transfixed by the magic of pantomime. Watching their faces as they drink it all in is almost as wonderful as watching the show itself.
• What would you wish for if Fairy Fair gave you the chance to have a wish granted?
That’s easy: three successful pantomimes with nobody getting ill, please.
• When can we find further information and book tickets?
For more information call 01243 861010 or visit www.alexandratheatre.co.uk