Horsham's panto starts to take shape

Horsham panto company
Horsham panto company

Christmas came early this year to Horsham as the cast of the Capitol’s 2019 panto gathered at the venue.

The Capitol is promising plenty of traditional fun, but with a few little differences this year including a younger-than-usual Captain Hook and a Tinkerbell played by a male actor, namely Freddie Hill.

Three years ago Freddie was Peter Pan in Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production in Chichester; this year he returns to the story in very different guise – as Peter’s Peter’s sidekick mischievous fairy.

“Peter Pan is such a great story, and it is lovely to be revisiting it now and looking at it now in a different medium. The Chichester production was not a pantomime production at all. It was very much the J M Barrie story tailored to the children, but this one is much more family-orientated.”

Freddie is confident the new take on Tinkerbell will work: “Tinkerbell is a genderless character. We are talking about fairies and there is nothing saying they are male or female, but I definitely think doing it as a genderless character will be interesting. I have got some ideas for the role.”

Joining him will be Nicholas Collier as a Captain Hook who will ring the changes: “Usually Hook just stands on the side lines when there is dancing and singing, but (director) Nick wanted Hook very much to be part of it all. He wants him to be a Hook who is actually leading the dancing. And it is going to be great. I have always wanted to be the baddie. I can’t wait to be booed and hissed at!”

Also in the company and enjoying a hometown date this Christmas will be Nicola Hume who will be tackling three roles in Peter Pan.

Mostly known for her presenting skills on the Heart FM breakfast show until earlier this year, Nicola will be treading the panto boards at the Capitol as Mrs Darling, Big Chief Chillaxin’ Cow and Ethel Mermaid.

After appearing in last year’s Capitol panto, she’s confident this year’s cast will combine for a similarly spirited show this year: “I loved it last year. Every member of the cast became a friend. We just had such a great time together, and we really weren’t pretending to be getting along so well on stage. We all just clicked together instantly.”

Hywel Dowsell is also thrilled to be back in panto in Horsham again this Christmas, this time as Mrs Smee: “I love the Capitol. Everyone here is just so friendly,” says Hywel. “The theatre is a fantastic building, and there is just so much going on here. But everyone is so welcoming and you are so very well looked after.

Adding even more to the fun of it all is the fact that this Christmas, Hywel is also assistant director on the show, as well as playing Mrs Smee: “It’s the big time now! Basically, it means being the director’s right-hand man. When he is running a scene with somebody, it will be my job for instance to look after the juveniles and to make sure that they are happy. I will be like an extra pair of hands for the director, and it also means that I will have creative input into the show.

Peter Pan is at Horsham’s Capitol from Friday, December 13-Sunday, January 5. Box office: 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com. Peter Pan is played by Anthony Sahota; Mrs Darling/Big Chief Chillaxin’ Cow by Nicola Hume; Captain Hook/Mr Darling by Nicholas Collier; Mrs Smee by Hywel Dowsell; and Mini Smee by James Fletcher.

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