No rest for post-dame Berwick Kaler as Sleeping Beauty awakes at Theatre Royal

The final curtain: Berwick Kaler saying farewell to 40 years as York Theatre Royal’s pantomime dame on February 2 2019

LAST night was press night for Sleeping Beauty, the first York Theatre Royal pantomime since Berwick Kaler hung up the dame’s big boots after 40 years.

Unlike Elvis, however, Kaler has not left the building. Now 73, he is still taking care of business, writing the script; co-directing with Leeds City Varieties rock’n’roll alumnus Matt Aston; appearing in two film sequences and in doll’s head form for baby Beauty, and providing sporadic voiceovers too.

How was the show? A thing of beauty, or should this panto format be put to sleep? See Charles Hutchinson’s verdict later today.

In the meantime, let’s remember the Dame Berwick Kaler years from an Ugly Sister in 1977 to exit stage left, February 2 2019. The total reads: Jack And The Beanstalk, six pantos; Mother Goose, five; Cinderella, five; Aladdin, five; Dick Whittington, four; Babes In The Wood, three; Sleeping Beauty, two; Sinbad The Sailor, two; Humpty Dumpty, one; Beauty And The Beast, one; Old Mother Milly, one; Dick Turpin, one; Humpty Dumpty, one; York Family Robinson, one; Robin Hood & His Merry Mam, one, and his last stand, The Grand Old Dame Of York, one.