Berwick’s back for some hanky Twankey

They're back. Oh, yes they are… Berwick Kaler, Sian Howard and Martin Barrass in the last panto, Robin Hood And His Merry Mam
5 Sep 2013 @ 5.04 pm
| News
They're back. Oh, yes they are… Berwick Kaler, Sian Howard and Martin Barrass in the last panto, Robin Hood And His Merry Mam
They’re back. Oh, yes they are… Berwick Kaler, Sian Howard and Martin Barrass in the last panto, Robin Hood And His Merry Mam

The cast for this year’s York Theatre Royal panto has been announced – and any talented youngsters who want to join them on stage can audition this Saturday (September 7).

The grand dame of the show is of course communities secretary Eric Pickles. No, only joking, it’s the magnificent Berwick Kaler, the man who is to panto what the council is to King’s Square – unflagging.

Berwick will celebrate his position as the country’s longest-running dame by starring as Widow Twankey in Aladdin And The Twankeys.

The über-dame is joined by regulars who have become firm favourites over the years. Sidekick Martin Barrass take on the dual role of Wisehopper (the oldest man in China) and Mankee Poo (Aladdin’s identical twin).

Back for a 19th panto, perpetual principal boy Suzy Cooper plays Princess Peke-a-Boo, while Sian Howard is the Empress of China.

Having worked his way up from the chorus line seven years ago AJ Powell has built up quite a fan base and returns to play one of the genies, aptly named Luv-li, after the Brummie’s catchphrase.

Jonathan Race returns for a second year as the baddie. He stepped into David Leonard’s villainous moustache while he was tied up playing Miss Trunchbull in the West End production of Matilda.

Last year Jonathan hammed it up nicely as Sherriff Hutton, and this time he’ll be on the boos as Abanazer.

After a cameo role as Richard the Lionheart Canadian, Al Braatz is promoted to the lofty position of Aladdin himself. Al’s warm reception from last year’s audiences was enough for talent-spotting director Berwick to sign him up for the role.

Theatre Royal artistic director Damian Cruden will endeavour to try and co-direct with Dame Kaler for the 15th harrowing year!

Principal princess Suzy Cooper
Principal princess Suzy Cooper
The baddie's back: Jonathan Race (right) alongside AJ Powell
The baddie’s back: Jonathan Race (right) alongside AJ Powell

Children’s auditions

Fancy joining the Twankeys? Children between eight and 11 years old and less than five feet tall are invited to audition this Saturday, September 7.

Some previous acting, singing and / or dancing experience is preferred, but not essential. If you match these requirements and are also full of energy, enthusiasm and would relish the chance to perform in front of an audience, you could be joining Berwick Kaler and his panto legends on the Theatre Royal stage.

Rehearsals will take place during the end of November, mostly on evenings and weekends. There will be two teams of young people who will alternate performances.

Performances take place between Thursday, December 12 and Saturday, February 1, including some midweek matinee performances during term time. There is no performance on Christmas Day.

If you would like to join the cast and feel that you and your family can make a strong commitment to the pantomime, you are encouraged to come along and audition.

Audition details

Auditions will take place at York Theatre Royal’s De Grey Rooms on Saturday, September 7.

At 2.30pm, registration for surnames A-K will take place in workshop 2. Auditions for these surnames will take place from 3pm – 4pm.

At 4.30pm registration for surnames L-Z will take place in workshop 2. Auditions for these surnames will take place from 5pm – 6pm.

Both auditions will be held in the Billiard Room.

Children will need to bring a passport-sized photograph of themselves and it is recommended that appropriate clothes and footwear are worn to run and dance in, alongside soft shoes – plimsolls or trainers are ideal.

During the audition, children will be asked to dance and sing in a group, and may also be asked to sight read from a script, but no preparation is required.

There is no need to contact the theatre about auditions in advance – just turn up at the De Grey building. We will also have trained chaperones on the day, so you can drop your children off and collect them after their audition if you wish.