BERWICK'S BACK FOR THE 40TH YEAR
Forty years on Berwick Kaler still reigns supreme as York Theatre Royal’s Dame and celebrates with an original pantomime called, appropriately enough, The Grand Old Dame of York from 13 December 2018 to 2 February 2019.
Casting is complete and fans can rest assured he’ll be joined by regular York panto family members Martin Barrass, David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and AJ Powell. Between them they have clocked up 100 years in York panto appearances.
After playing villains in commercial pantomimes, Berwick first put on a wig and frock for Cinderella, playing one of the Ugly Sisters, Philomena, in York Theatre Royal’s 1977 panto. He had made his York debut earlier that year playing Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Apart from two years (1986 and 1987) when he was appearing in London’s West End, he’s been York’s Dame ever since. His opening words “Me babbies, me bairns” have become his catchphrase along with hurling Wagon Wheels into the audience and handing out bottles of brown ale.
His first York panto script was for Aladdin in 1981. An absence of plot has become one of the hallmarks of his scripts. “Plots are for cemeteries,” he once joked. As well as variations on regular panto titles such as The Lad Aladdin and Robin Hood & His Merry Mam, he has created original shows including Dick Turpin The Panto and Old Mother Millie.
Berwick Kaler said:
“For forty years the panto team and I have shared laughter with the most loyal audience on the planet. To this day I haven’t a clue where we went right!”