Back in Bognor for Christmas, Chichester’s Vicky Edwards is thrilled to be playing Baroness Hard-Up in Cinderella at the Alexandra Theatre, not least because of the people involved.
“Bognor audiences are so enthusiastic and warm that it never feels like work, especially at panto time. As for the staff, you simply couldn’t ask for a more dedicated bunch of people.Many of them are volunteers, but it is teamwork at its best, which makes for a lovely family feeling.”
Seeing Cinderella as the most classic pantomime of them all, Vicky reckons that it may just be Bognor’s best ever.
“The best-known story of all time, we have got a brilliant script and something for everyone – slapstick and silly stuff, romance, song, dance and some really ‘Wow!’ special effects,” she said, declining to reveal more.
“You will have to come and find out, but I will say that you’ll ‘squeak’ with delight,” she teased.
Promising plenty of audience participation too, Vicky explained that the Baroness is something of a twist to the show.
“Usually it is a Baron, not Baroness, but our lovely director Bev rewrote it as Cinderella’s mother especially for me. I’ve had fun inventing a back story. In my head the Baroness is landed gentry, but broke. Once happily married to wealthy Duke Rockerfella, who tragically died in a freak yachting accident, she was left alone with their daughter.
“Persuaded into a second marriage by Baron Hard-Up, he proved to be a wrong ‘un who squandered all her money on gambling and dancing girls. Legging it with the family silver, the poor old girl is now on her uppers and stuck with his two ghastly daughters,” laughs Vicky, who is looking forward to working with a cast that includes some old friends.
“Two years ago our Prince Charming, Dandini, Fairy Godmother and some of our dancers were all in Beauty and the Beast together in Bognor.
“We had such a lovely season and it will be lovely to be reunited with them. Together with our brilliant Bognor newbies, I think a very jolly Christmas is on the cards!”
As for baddies, Vicky says that the Ugly Sisters are going to bring the house down. “They are beautifully bad, but in a hilarious rather than a frightening way. You will love to hate them.”
Passionate about children having access to theatre and the arts, Vicky reckons that panto is a great introduction to live performance.
“Panto is a wonderful experience that people of all ages can enjoy together. But for me there really is nothing to beat that look of wonder on a child’s face as they watch the show.
“Witnessing that is the best Christmas present in the world.”