Theatre Royal panto team back in action

York Theatre Royal's panto family is back together again.

Berwick Kaler, celebrating his 39th year as the Grand Old Dame of York, is reunited with regulars Martin Barrass, David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and A J Powell.

Jack & the Beanstalk is this year’s traditional panto choice and it sees the return of Martin Barrass as Berwick’s silly sidekick. He missed last year’s show following a near-fatal motorbike accident.

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Dame Berwick will be playing Mandy Manly and Martin is Stanley Manley. Long-time villain David Leonard is Dr McCarb and Suzy Cooper is Jill.

AJ Powell, who stepped in absent Martin’s shoes to play one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella last Christmas, plays the hero as Jack Manly. Selby-born Luke Adamson, who made his York panto debut as a youngster 15 years ago, is back on stage as Useless Eustace in the tale of a cow, a beanstalk and a giant.

This is the sixth time that Berwick, who writes and co-directs the pantomime as well as playing the dame, has appeared in Jack and the Beanstalk during his 39 year reign at the Theatre Royal. He names it as one of his all-time favourites among panto titles.

As usual the plot is proving elusive but audiences can expect designer Mark Walters to deliver breathtaking sets and gorgeous costumes to go with the amazing lighting design, singalong songs and foot-tapping choreography.

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Many of the creative team who worked on last year’s Cinderella are back in the family fold led by the theatre’s artistic director Damian Cruden, who co-directs with Berwick. Also returning are lighting designer Richard G Jones and choreographer Grace Harrington.

Completing the line-up is the multi-talented ensemble of Danielle Mullan, Jake Lindsay, Charleigh Webb, Scott Wallace, Jocelyn Zackon and Nathan Colman.

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at York Theatre Royal from December 14 to February 3. Tickets £14.50-£34. Box Office 01904 623568.