THE script is complete and the Dame has been cast – oh yes, preparations are already well under way for panto season in Bury St Edmunds.
The Theatre Royal is gearing up for its latest festive production and promises traditional fun for all the family with Dick Whittington and his Cat.
The venue’s annual pantomime breaks records year on year and bosses hope to continue that trend with a show sparkling with laughter, songs and dance.
Artistic director Colin Blumenau, who is helming the show, said: “It’s a traditional family panto and we focus very hard on it being a great story with lots of good music and dance.
“Year on year, the Bury panto seems to be better and better supported. It’s just fantastic fun and a good clean family show. It looks beautiful.”
The show is set centuries ago when a young Dick Whittington arrives in London to make his fame and fortune.
At first all goes well as he makes friends with a cat, gets a job with a merchant and falls in love with a girl but there are wicked forces at play in the form of the evil Queen Rat.
When asked why pantomime has endured for so long, Mr Blumenau said: “There’s something about it being a traditional British thing.
“If it’s done well then it’s the most fun you can have because you get a chance to join in and see beautiful things.
“There’s a bit of magic and sparkle and it’s fabulous.
“Also if done properly, it’s highly skillful. It’s like doing a brand new musical every Christmas and people treat it as an event.”
One of the lynchpins of every panto is the Dame and waiting in the wings ready to wow the crowds is actor and session singer Stephen Weller in the vibrant guise of Sarah The Cook.
He said: “The Dame binds everything together. You come on and everybody knows what to expect. They know she’s going to be funny, a bit cheeky, naughty and roguish.
“She’s not scary or offensive.
“It is my second Dame as I did Show White and the Seven Dwarfs last year in Grantham.
“This is my first time in Bury and I think it’s really nice.”
Dick Whittington and his Cat runs from Friday November 25 to Sunday January 15 at the Theatre Royal.
For further information call the box office on (01284) 769505 or visit www.theatreroyal.org