Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Role reversal at the Kenton

The stars of the Kenton Theatre’s hit pantomime will be reversing their roles when they are back on stage during

The stars of the Kenton Theatre’s hit pantomime will be reversing their roles when they are back on stage during half term. James Clifford, who played Captain Hook, and Rochelle Parry, who played Peter Pan, will be taking the roles of Mr Toad and a thieving Weasel respectively in family show

Wind in the Willows


James said, “It makes a change for me to get the cheers and Rochelle to get the boos as one of the baddies. The show does have elements of pantomime, there is lots of call and response and Mr Toad raises the roof.

“Everyone gets involved, including the grown-ups; we took care to make it a family show, so there is something for everybody.”

The production by Immersion Theatre and the Cambridge Touring Theatre has been on tour since February 6 and James says the cast are having a fanatastic time. As well as taking the role of the irrepressible Toad, James is director and producer.

“It’s a big responsibility,“ he said. “For many children this is their first experience of theatre and it is down to us to make an impact and inspire them. If it’s boring they won’t go again.”

It looks like there will be no time for children or adults to get fidgety in the 90-minute show, an adaptation of Kenneth Graeme’s classic childhood novel. Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad embark on the adventure of a lifetime, culminating in a colourful battle with a pair of pick-pocketing weasels, to save Toad Hall.

Elaborate costumes, singalongs and larger-than-life characters promise to capture the imagination of four to 104-year-olds as the nostalgic charm of the riverside tale weaves its magic. But be quick, James said; the 11am and 2.30pm performances are selling out fast, but there are still plenty of seats for the 7.30pm.

“I think it’s because the last show is a little later,“ he said. “But it’s not a school night. If children can’t stay up a little later during half term, when can they?”

And what about James and Rochelle’s own fairytale? The couple got engaged when James proposed after a performance of

Peter Pan
the day before Christmas Eve. Have they named a day for their happily-ever-after?

“We are looking at January 2017,“ said James. “We are both so busy, there will be a production of

Romeo and Juliet
this year and we are also working on securing the rights to a family show, which we are keeping a secret at the moment.”

So for now, the focus is on Mr Toad. How does he compare to Captain Hook? “He’s cheeky rather than bad; he’s like a child really,“ said James. “He is full of energy and high jinks.”

Tickets are £12, children £10, family £40. Box office (01491) 575698 or www.

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