After the successful run of Cinderella (2013/2014’s panto), UK Productions returns with Sleeping Beauty, another magical traditional pantomime. With spectacular sets and costumes, Sleeping Beauty is fantastic seasonal fun for everyone aged 3 to 103!
Taking on the role of Nurse Glucose is the legend of radio, screen and stage, Bobby Crush. Bobby first became popular after six winning appearances on Opportunity Knocks in the 1970s. Since then he has had many stage roles and his own TV show.
Bobby Crush chatted with Bonnie Britain at the Press Launch of Sleeping Beauty.
You are appearing in Sleeping Beauty, can you tell us about it?
Well, firstly, on the posters for this pantomime they have put “The legendary Bobby Crush”, so it is nice to be considered a show-biz legend! I suppose it is a mark of respect for someone that has managed to keep going for over 40 years in a business that is very competitive.
I play the role of Sleeping Beauty’s nurse, Nurse Glucose. She takes care of Sleeping Beauty and makes sure she doesn’t get into too many scrapes. But of course, when poor old Nurse’s back is turned Sleeping Beauty does get in a certain amount of trouble, when she pricks her finger on the spinning wheel, and that’s when the adventure really kicks off.
Playing the role of Nurse Glucose, will you be sticking to the script or ad-libbing a little bit?
Maybe one or two additions just to help things along the way. There will certainly be some piano playing from me, as I do play the piano in the show. I play a 2 minute rock ‘n roll medley that the kids all dance to.
Regarding playing the piano, earlier this year, you celebrated your 60th year, at the Leicester Square Theatre, can you tell us about that?
I turned 60 in March, and we had a concert at the Leicester Square Theatre, and we recorded it for an album. We were hoping that it would be out for Christmas, but this is now looking unlikely, and it is likely to be out in the Spring of 2015. We had an 8-piece band and did a lot of the songs that I have been associated with over the years, and we had some special material for the show. There is also a segment as Liberace, and all of this will be on the album, which just needs editing before being released.
You are on the Roll of Honour at the Stage Door at the London Palladium, having performed in three seasons there, and some one-off concerts. What does the Palladium mean to you and what would you like to see there?
Well, it is my favourite theatre in the world, fabulous and no other place like it. It is difficult to say what to be on there, but perhaps ideally variety, as I always think of the Palladium as a ‘variety house’. But then again, are there enough variety acts around to keep it going? So I do see why it is seen as a house for regular musicals.
The closest thing we seem to have with the variation in acts is Britain’s Got Talent. What do you think of that?
I am pleased to see that Britain’s Got Talent has such a following, as to my mind it is like a latterday Opportunity Knocks, which is the show that I came from. Of course we didn’t have the judging panel, we just left it to the public as to whether we came back. Those were the days when we had postal voting on a postcard. We recorded the show on a Saturday afternoon and it would go out on a Monday, and the postcards would come in from Tuesday to Thursday and we would get a phone call on the Friday if we were coming back. It was a much more innocent age.
How important is it to get the kids in to watch pantomimes?
For a lot of children it will be their first experience of live theatre. So if you can grab their attention with something like a panto, it is a fabulous launching pad, hopefully for a life going back and forth to the theatre. I can remember being taken to panto at the Palladium and it was fabulous, and it hooked me. If I hadn’t become a performer I would have found a career connected to theatre, because of those early days.
What would you say to those families out there wondering whether to go to the theatre this Christmas?
Well stop wondering, get along to the box office and book tickets. Panto incorporates everything I love about theatre; there is comedy, pathos, music, dance, slapstick. It is the one form of theatre that takes everything in, so it means there is always something for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. I love the traditional pantos and this is one of them.
You can follow Bobby Crush on Twitter @theBobbyCrush
Questions by Bonnie Britain
Saturday 20th September 2014