MARTIN Barrass will be starring in a York pantomime after all this winter.
Dame Berwick’s perennial comic stooge may be missing out on the Covid-cancelled Kaler comeback in Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House, but now he will lead the pantomime section of Strictly Xmas Live In The Park.
Presented by the Bev Jones Music Company in a Covid-secure, socially distanced, open-air performance at the Rowntree Park Amphitheatre, the show will be a one-off on Sunday, December 13 at 2pm.
“I met Lesley Jones, widow of the formidable York producer and director Bev Jones, five or six weeks ago about doing a Christmas show to get people out and about on a crisp winter’s day,” says Martin.
“I’m thrilled to be taking part, and if you’re wondering why I’m wearing black and pink in the publicity picture, they were Bev’s favourite colours.”
Producer Lesley says: “We are delighted to welcome Martin into our company for this special guest appearance and he fits in so well to the company personality. He will lead the audience in the Christmas song with a drop-down song sheet.”
“I’ve chosen the first song-sheet I ever did at the Theatre Royal…about Yorkshire Puddings!” reveals Martin, as he breaks into song from memory: “‘You can’t beat a better bit of batter on your platter than a good old Yorkshire Pud!’
“I did that with Berwick in Sinbad The Sailor in 1984, and I always remember thinking, ‘Are they going to respond?’, but of course they did!” Nobody does it batter, Martin!
Expect a few seasonal jokes too from Barrass, who will be joined in the festive concert’s panto sequence by Melissa Boyd’s Princess, Terry Ford’s villain and Charlotte Wood’s Silly Billy.
“In addition, we’ll have the Dame, the Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming, Jack Ass and other characters,” says Lesley.
“The concert will include all the favourite Christmas songs, such as Santa Baby, Jingle Bell Rock and Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?, as well as the fun panto section for all the family.
“There’ll be a visit from Santa Claus for all the children, followed by a moving Carols By Candlelight finale, encouraging a sing-along for everyone.”
Rowntree Park Amphitheatre will play host to a non-alcoholic Festive Mulled Wine Van, selling hot drinks for all the family, whether tea, coffee, hot apple juice or children’s drinks, served with light complimentary snacks.
Rehearsals will be held at Rufforth Institute Hall , socially distanced and under a full Covid risk assessment.
All audience members will be temperature tested on arrival and placed into family private bubble areas.
Tickets cost £5 for children and £10 for adults in bubbles for two to six people, on sale on 01904 501935 or online at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/concert/strictly-xmas-live-in-the-park/1342/#schedules