Here is Martin Barrass like you’ve never seen him before.

But he’s not the panto dame (oh yes he is! Oh no he isn’t!)

Martin is to play the Queen in this year’s York Theatre Royal pantomime, it was revealed today. But he isn’t fully stepping into the high heels of legendary dame Berwick Kaler.


A theatre spokesman said:

  • Although he’ll be wearing a frock, Martin isn’t stepping into the dame’s shoes now that Berwick has retired as the theatre’s pantomime dame after 40 years.

    The fact is that there is nothing like a dame in the production because Sleeping Beauty doesn’t have a dame character.

It’s a new challenge for Martin after more than three decades as Berwick’s sidekick.

‘What could possibly go wrong?’

How it used to be… Martin Barrass as the sidekick and Berwick Kaler as the dame. Photograph: Anthony Robling / York Theatre Royal
Martin will join other members of the Theatre Royal pantomime family – David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and A.J Powell –in Sleeping Beauty, which is written by Berwick Kaler.

He will co-direct with York-based theatre-maker Matt Aston, whose production of Grandad’s Island was seen at the Theatre Royal.

And Martin’s comment on playing the Queen? “Dear diary, stayed in, reigned all day”.

Matt Aston says: “I’m thrilled that Martin is going to put a frock on this year and play the part of The Queen.


“Hopefully he’ll remember who he is, doesn’t miss his Mam too much and try to be as regal as possible at all times. What could possibly go wrong?”

Sleeping Beauty runs from 7 December to 25 January.