Thursday, 18 October 2018

‘Panto for Easter’ is coming to Kenton

NO one could accuse David Kemp of taking the easy way out when he turned his

NO one could accuse David Kemp of taking the easy way out when he turned his back on being an actor.

When the 26-year-old arrives at the Kenton Theatre he will come as the producer, director and writer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

David, who is based in Burnham near Slough, believes that while Christmas has panto there is a need for a show to help fill the Easter holidays — and what better than the strange, funny and madcap world created by Lewis Carroll?

“It is a book that is so well known,” he says. “A young girl falls in a strange world, meets a wonderful cast of characters and tries to get home. People know those characters and I think that is a great help.”

Alice is on a mini-tour, with Henley and Ickenham the two staging posts. It follows on from the success of The Wizard of Oz, which was David’s Easter production last year.

“I wanted just the right show to do — something with family appeal and something familiar,” he says. “Then I watched the Disney version of Alice and realised it was the perfect story.”

With an adult cast of five supported by 12 child actors, the show has an original score written by Connor Jones, who also acts in the production. “There are about six songs in the show and a lot of dancing,” says David. “As with a pantomime, I wanted a show that would appeal to the whole family.

“I think children of four and up will enjoy it. Younger ones are welcome to come, of course, but they may not get as much out of it.”

David himself trained at Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead on a full scholarship before going on to Millennium Performing Arts in London, where he won the prize for musical theatre.

He worked on various touring productions before deciding his future lay in producing and directing.

“I don’t miss the acting at all,” he says. “I love what I am doing and it is a wonderful feeling when something you have worked on from the beginning comes to fruition.

“With Alice I have stuck to the original book for the story. It is a wonderful tale and all the famous scenes are there — the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the croquet game and the Cheshire Cat.

“There has been a tendency to take the Lewis Carroll original in different directions but this production sticks to the story that is so popular.

“Our cast has to work hard and we are putting on two shows a day. I hope it will make an Easter present for people in Henley.”

The five adult actors in the cast are Jemma Carlisle, who plays Alice and is on stage for virtually the whole of the performance, Niall Rooney as the Mad Hatter and the Caterpillar, composer Connor Jones as the White Rabbit, Thomas Kemp as the March Hare and the King, and veteran actor Clifford Hume as the Duchess and the Queen of Hearts.

“It is a very strong cast and we are all looking forward to the Kenton,” added David.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is playing in Henley from Thursday, March 31, to Sunday, April 3. The opening day is already sold out but there are performances at 1.30pm and 5pm on each of the other days.

Tickets are priced £16 with a range of concessions available. To book, call (01491) 575698 or visit

The box office in New Street is open from 11am to 3pm on weekdays and from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

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