Sixth Bognor panto for Chichester’s Vicky Edwards
Marking her sixth panto appearance at the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis this Christmas, Chichester’s Vicky Edwards says she has a number of reasons to happily skip down the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz.
“Firstly, to be invited back is an honour.
“I have never been involved in a production at the theatre that has been anything other than a joy.
“Bognor audiences are brilliant and to spend Christmas in such a warm and appreciative environment is an absolute delight.
“The team at the theatre are amazing too; so dedicated and friendly.
“Doing panto in Bognor Regis is like being enveloped in a giant hug!”
Vicky says she has huge affection for The Wizard of Oz. Although it is not a traditional panto, Vicky says the Bognor show has got all the perfect pantomime ingredients.
“It has drama, song, comedy and of course a fantastic story. I have seen it done as a pantomime a couple of times and I can’t wait to play the Good Witch of the North, especially as I have a dress that is out of this world!
“It is the stuff dreams are made of for little girls and middle-aged actresses,” she joked, refusing to reveal more than that it is “very big and very pink.”
As for the show, it includes all the well-loved traditional panto elements.
“Slapstick, audience interaction, special effects – it is all there,” she confirmed.
“Bev Berridge, our wonderful director, has reworked the script and it’s going to be a show full of laughter for all the family.”
Another aspect of the show that Vicky is especially thrilled about is the casting.
“Bev and our lovely producer Hazel Latus are always on the money when it comes to casting.
“Not only do they cast super-talented people, but they have a great knack of putting people who work really well together.
“That makes a big difference, especially during such an intensive schedule. So yes; once again they have assembled a smashing bunch of people, most of whom I have had the pleasure of working with before.”
But mindful of being ‘match fit,’ Vicky, who lives in Chichester and trained at the Italia Conti Stage School, worked on building up her stamina over the autumn.
“Sometimes we have three shows in one day and you do need to be in good form to cope with that.
“I am walking three times a week, trying to squeeze in a bit of swimming and doing my best to lay off the ice cream at the moment!”
And while Chichester Festival Youth Theatre is also staging a production of The Wizard of Oz, Vicky is confident that the two shows will be very different.
“Our show is very definitely the pantofied version of the story. Chichester’s, I believe, is going to be more faithful to the original story.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the CFT production – not least because my daughter has made it into the company!
“But in both cases there is an established reputation for great quality, so you really can’t go wrong.”
As for doing panto so close to her Chichester base, Vicky knows that she is very lucky.
“I’m at home for Christmas and that’s lovely.
“After all, in the words of Dorothy, there really is no place like home.”
The cast is: Kevin Short as The Wizard; Jamie Bannerman as The Lion (last seen as Abanazar in Aladdin); Scottish duo Lemetti and Mirren as The Scarecrow and Tin Man; Vicky Edwards as the Good Witch; Drew Donnell as the Wicked Witch (last seen as Cruella in Cinderella); and introducing Katie Bennett as Dorothy
Tickets for The Wizard of Oz at Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre are available on alexandratheatre.co.uk and 01243 861010.
The show runs until Saturday, January 4.