It’s non-stop panto fun once again at An Lanntair this January!

The classic tale of Sleeping Beauty will come alive on stage, where the cast will perform twice a day Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16.  On Friday 17 and Saturday 18, three performances will be held each day.

Directed and produced by Stuart Morrison, the pantomime stars Victoria Jane, David Rumelle, Steven Arnold and Linda Clark.  Stuart says: “This year's pantomime is going to be one of the most extravagant of all, utilising the wonderful talent of the cast we have managed to get together - some of which are Lewis regulars - as well as introducing some great newcomers, not to mention our star this year, Steven Arnold, well known and much loved for his many, many years in Coronation Street.

“Steven is a regular to pantomime and has worked with me many times in the past and is a wonderful cast member.

“Sleeping Beauty is a time-loved classic and we are presenting it in our typical way of taking the original story and giving it a 2020 twist…”

David Rumelle, who plays Nurse Nancy Nettlerash, says: “This will be my fourth year in Stornoway.  We always have a good time there.  It’s an absolute joy to do.”

David, who first started working in pantomime 30 years ago, has been playing pantomime dames since 1995.  “It became a sort of passion,” he explains.  “I started off playing the villain and then I was offered Mother Goose, which is the main panto which revolves around a dame.  My producer at the time gave me guidelines which helped me develop the character and within a very short space of time I knew where I was going with it.

“You need to be totally focussed and organised, especially playing the dame.  Sometimes there are up to 14 costume changes in a performance, so you need to be very disciplined and physically fit.  It really is an art, and that’s why I enjoy it so much.”

David now designs his own costumes, which, although they won’t be making it up to Stornoway with him, are normally used in his performances.  He reveals: “It’s quite standard for dames to come supplied with their own costumes so they know what fits and how to get into them quickly. 

“I have had some wonderful designers make costumes for me over the years and then I started designing and had other dressmakers adapt the costumes.  It’s my passion and I strive to make it the best I possibly can.”

The role of the villain, bad fairy Carabosse, will be played by Linda Clark.  Linda, who also appeared in an episode of David Tennant’s Doctor Who, says: “The baddies are so much more fun to play – and you get to used to being booed!”

Linda has been to Stornoway three times in the past.  “I first came 25 years ago, when we performed in the Town Hall,” she relates.  “The biggest memory for me was calling my husband from a phone box after a performance in June at 10:40pm and marvelling at how light it was even at that hour! 

“I always say to people it’s very thrilling to do something that was my childhood dream.  I’m so lucky to do what I do and I’m very excited to come back to Stornoway!”