Beds, Herts & Bucks

Peter Pan pantomime stars say it is 'hardest job in show business'

Will Kenning, Joseph Elliott, Richard David-Caine Image copyright Paul Clapp/ Limelight Studios
Image caption One of the main characters in a pantomime is the Dame, where a man normally plays the role of a woman

A children's television star set to perform a gruelling schedule of shows has described pantomime as "one of the hardest jobs in the profession".

Richard David-Caine, of Horrible Histories, said his role as Captain Hook in Peter Pan was "intense".

BBC Strictly Come Dancing's AJ Pritchard, set for his panto debut, hoped "adrenaline" would help him cope.

Drama teacher Edward Applewaite said the "unforgiving nature of the audience" made the job unpredictable.

Image caption AJ Pritchard partnered Saffron Barker in Strictly Come Dancing 2019 and bowed out in week 10

David-Caine is in the pantomime in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, that has a 48-performance run between Tuesday and 5 January, with two shows on most days - and three on some dates.

Pritchard, 25, who will play Peter Pan, said: "Doing a three-show day is going to be something I have never done before and that is going to be absolutely insane.

"When you do any show, your adrenaline kicks in and you bounce off the audience."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Richard David-Caine will be returning to Dunstable's Grove Theatre for the second year in the row

David-Caine, 32, who also stars in BBC CBeebies pirate-themed show Swashbuckle, said: "I genuinely think it's one, if not the hardest job in the profession.

"It is exhausting as you want to give every audience the same quality show, so if you are tired, you have to pace yourself.

"It's intense but you get so much back."

Image copyright Paul Clapp/ Limelight Studios
Image caption Will Kenning played Nurse Nelly in Snow White and has appeared in 14 pantomimes over the years

Will Kenning, show director, said: "There are some people who make serious money by being exceptional panto stars like John Barrowman, Paul O'Grady, and Brian Conley.

"If you see those guys, you realise how skilled they are."

Edward Applewaite, director of drama at nearby Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, said: "One of the reasons panto is considered one of the hardest jobs in show business is the unforgiving nature of the audience.

"Children have absolutely no problem letting you know if they're not enjoying something."

Image copyright Paul Clapp/ Limelight Studios
Image caption Pantomime performers needs to act, sing, dance and cope with heckling from the audience

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