Episode 7: The Magic of Panto – Just a British Thing? The Dame and NYT Critic spill the beans

29 Nov 2021

Why are we Brits bonkers about pantomime? And what do they make of this Christmas tradition over in the U.S? In this podcast episode, Sue talks to The New York Times journalist Alexis Soloski about Christmas theatre traditions, catching Wagon Wheels and extremely rude jokes. Sue also speaks to actor Steve Simmonds to get a Dame’s-eye view of panto in the U.K.   

Alexis Soloski is a theatre critic for the New York Times and a contributing writer for the Guardian here in the UK. Alexis wrote an article about British panto for the New York Times in December 2020, which included a review of the New Wolsey’s hit show, The Snow Queen. Alexis watched 8 pantos online in a single weekend in order to write the article (therein lies insanity, she says) and she thinks there might be a market for panto over in New York because she can’t bear to see yet another version of The Nutcracker.  

Steve Simmonds (aka ‘Romford’) is an actor – musician who is very familiar with the New Wolsey stage. He played Dame Sigrid Smorgasbord in The Snow Queen and is playing Dame Dolly Durden in the 2021 production of Jack and the Beanstalk.  Sue prises Steve out of the rehearsal room to talk about the art of playing the Dame, how he avoids committing the biggest crime in panto and his memory of seeing Norman Wisdom play Buttons.

Watch Jack and The Beanstalk in-theatre or via livestream, at the New Wolsey Theatre  until 8th January 2022.

In theatre tickets: https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/jack-the-beanstalk-2/
Livestream tickets: https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/jack-the-beanstalk-livestream/

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If you would like to be a guest, or if you have feedback about this or any other episode of Theatre Unwrapped drop us a line at shornby@wolseytheatre.co.uk

Listen to all the Theatre Unwrapped episodes here

Visit the New Wolsey Theatre website here

The New Wolsey Theatre is supported by Arts Council England, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council.

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