The actor chatted to Emma Clarendon about returning to pantomime and Theatr Clwyd’s 2019 production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

(c)Brian Roberts.

Hi Phylip – how does it feel to be returning to pantomime this year?  This will be panto number twenty five for me this year and number thirteen at Theatr Clwyd. I keep coming back to Mold because of The Mold audiences and some fantastic production values. They make all the costumes here which are fantastic, and I’ve built up quite a wardrobe over the years. Honestly, I love working at this theatre. It is very actor friendly, and they look after us with exceptional care and love. The work produced here has been and remains to be of the highest quality. Long may it last.

What can we expect from this production of Jack & the Beanstalk?  This year’s panto is the usual mix of colourful costumes, spectacular scenery, rocking songs, great acting and customary bad gags which we all love. The story is strong, and mixed in with some fab singing, dancing and comedy it’s going to be one of our best. We’ve got Jack and Jill, a stinky Squire, a flower power fairy, a poisonous Ivy, a domestic duo, a harp who sings, the mold puppets, a little Tommy, and a fabulous old cow… no not me, I’m Tegwen Trott.

What is it that you love about pantomimes? Pantomimes are very often the first piece of theatre you’ll see. I love seeing the expressions on peoples faces ranging from hilarity to incredulity at a near the knuckle joke. The sheer joy that audiences get from pantomime makes me very happy year after year. 

Could you tell us a bit more about Dame Tegwen Trott? Tegwen is hot to trot. She has lost her husband in a freak accident. When eating a bowl of muesli he was pulled in by a strong currant. You may laugh…and I wish you would? She has two boys Jack and Tommy. Jack is tall dark and handsome and Tommy isn’t. She’s so poor she has to go down to KFC to lick other peoples fingers. She is now looking for husband number two. Enough said.

What are you most looking forward to about taking this show to the stage? I can’t wait to see old “victims” in the audience. What I mean is, every year I pick on a man in the audience who for rehearsal purposes we call “Brian”. I then set about to playfully pick on him throughout the night and generally have lots of fun with him. A lot of the men come back year after year expecting to be picked on. They can get quite miffed if I don’t. One year I had a “victim” give me a bottle of whiskey and another year Cled the Head as I called him because he was a local headteacher presented me with a bunch of roses.

Why should people book a ticket if they haven’t done so? Get your tickets booked and sit back, giggle, enjoy and singalong. But most importantly don’t forget to bring your umbrellas. You don’t want to get wet.I have many special memories from the pantos over the years. Great friendships forged and lot’s of fun had. This year we had a gentleman propose to his girlfriend on stage. It was lovely. Come along, you don’t know what you’ll see.

By Emma Clarendon

Jack & the Beanstalk will play at the Theatr Clwyd until the 18th January 2020.