Mark Read, star of boyband A1, hits the panto stage in Worthing
Mark Read, star of hit boyband A1, enjoyed his first-ever panto experience in Worthing four years ago.
This Christmas he is back for more, playing Prince Charming this time – in Cinderella at the Pavilion Theatre from November 29-January 5, with tickets on 01903 206206.
“I was saying to people that I was really spoilt here last time.
“I had done shorter roles before, but Worthing was my first headline main part and my first real experience, and it was great.
“And that was Cinderella as well. Last time I was Dandini.
“This time I have been promoted to Prince Charming. I don’t know where I can go from that!
“The thing that was great last time was that the script was written by the comedy duo in the show who were also the show’s directors, and because they had written it and directed it and starred in it, they were able to make the whole experience really, really good and great fun.
“But I was particularly excited when I found out that this time it was going to be a completely new script and it was being done in house by the producers… and so it was going to be a new take.
“Obviously it will have all the traditional things, but I think it is going to be more up to date.
“The audience won’t come away feeling like they have seen it before.
“I did panto the following year which was quite close to where I live, near Portsmouth. I did Santa Claus The Musical at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.
“And the following year I was Aladdin in Lowestoft which was quite a distance away.
“And then last year I did a show called Piano Legends, a tour in concert halls around the country. That was a nice break, but now it is lovely to be back in panto.
“It came up that I could go back to Worthing quite early. They asked me around January time, and I don’t usually like to go back. You always want to be moving on, but I had such a great time last time that I wanted to.”
It also comes with a particular challenge, namely the fact that Prince Charming can so often seem so colourless.
“Sometimes Prince Charming can seem a bit stiff and you feel that he doesn’t actually have anything terribly interesting to do.
“And I am really aware of that,” says Mark, speaking before seeing the actual script.
“I think what I have got to do is somehow to make him much more multi-layered.
“As soon as I see the script, I will be able to work on my own interpretation of him. It will be my feel for it. I will be able to bring my own take to it.
“When you are doing 67 shows in a month, you have got to make it enjoyable for yourself, but it is also about challenging yourself. Because I come from a musical background, I want to be able to push myself as an actor rather than just as a singer that has come in.
“And I think the producers are really good in that respect. They will incorporate certain aspects of your personality and character.
“But yes, I know I need to make Prince Charming more colourful. That’s something I am going to be bearing in mind.”
In the meantime, A1 are continuing to enjoy their 20th anniversary celebrations, going through into 2020 with the 20th anniversary of their first number one.
They put on a London show earlier this year which sold out in four minutes. So they did another.
And they also did Birmingham and Manchester. And there are plenty more places they are wanting to add.
The band are looking forward to touring the UK in February and March.
“We have had quite a resurgence really. And we are certainly looking at some new material.”
Tickets on worthingtheatres.co.uk.