I’m not a fan of Christmas - panto dame

Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Eastbourne Devonshire Park Theatre 13 Dec 2012 to 13 Jan-2013. September 12th 2012 E37082N'Bernie Nolan as Carabosse, Martyn Knight as Nellie Night Nurse and Sasha Wareham as Princess Belle.
Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Eastbourne Devonshire Park Theatre 13 Dec 2012 to 13 Jan-2013. September 12th 2012 E37082N'Bernie Nolan as Carabosse, Martyn Knight as Nellie Night Nurse and Sasha Wareham as Princess Belle.
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EASTBOURNE’S long-standing pantomime dame this week admitted he was not a fan of Christmas, as this year’s Sleeping Beauty pantomime was launched.

There may be 101 days left before Christmas Day, but there was a festive feel at the Winter Garden on Wednesday (September 12) as invited guests were treated to a sneak preview of show which will run at the Devonshire Park Theatre December 13-January 13.

The pantomime will star Bernie Nolan, famous for singing with her sisters and for her roles in Brookside and The Bill. She will be playing the villain Carabosse.

The 51-year-old, no stranger to pantomime, said, “I love pantomime. It is such great fun and you can ad-lib, especially with being a baddie. I love involving the kids and the comedy.

“One of my sisters once played a baddie and she hated it. She hated all the booing but I love it.”

Bernie admitted she has made children cry when playing the villain in the past but explained she had to remain in character.

Martyn Knight, who lives in Watford but has been Eastbourne’s pantomime dame for nine years, will be back to play Dame Nellie Night Nurse. Martyn loves pantomime and said, “I love seeing the kids faces when we go out and they are waving to us. I love the way they believe they are involved in the show and really making a difference to the storyline.”

But surprisingly, Martyn added, “I am not a massive Christmas fan. I think the real meaning of Christmas has gone.”

The cast of the pantomime have little time off to celebrate the festive season, as there are shows on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Martyn said, “I go to church in Eastbourne on Christmas Eve which I really enjoy. I am here every year because I love giving the kids what they want.”

Despite launching the panto in September, the cast will now not see each other until six days before the show opens. Rehearsals for Sleeping Beauty don’t start until the week before and artistic director Chris Jordan said he had even been finishing off the script days before the opening of the show in years gone by. Call 412000 for tickets.