Good-humoured nastiness from a first-time baddie at Horsham’s Capitol

Chris Edgerley plays Fleshcreep in Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture by Steve Robards, SR1725054
Chris Edgerley plays Fleshcreep in Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture by Steve Robards, SR1725054

If you love Christmas, then panto is just the perfect thing to do, says Chris Edgerley who plays Fleshcreep in Horsham Capitol’s Jack and the Beanstalk (until December 31).

“If you do panto, you can make Christmas last six to eight weeks,” says Chris who actually will have had Christmas by the time he takes to the stage in Horsham.

“I am based in London now, but my family are in the north-west, in Southport. That would be quite a trek to get back there for Christmas Day. It would be too hard to do it in just one day, but we have got a little tradition.

“I go home to Southport the week before we start rehearsals for panto, and mum and dad are fantastic. They create our own Christmas Day in the middle of November. We get the tree out really early, and mum goes all out for Christmas presents and decorations, and it genuinely feels like Christmas Day.”

And no, it doesn’t mean Chris has had enough of Christmas by the time he starts panto. Quite the contrary. He feels warmed up for it and raring to go.

This will be Chris’ 14th panto, but this year he is ringing the changes: “For all the ones before, I have been either principal boy or the comic, but this is the first year I am playing the baddie. I have known the panto producer for quite a few years, and they came up with the offer. We had a read-through, and they were happy for me to do it. Which is great! It means that instead of trying to save the day, I am trying to ruin it! You don’t have to smile or try to be nice. You get to be angry and shout all the time, which is great fun because I am usually a really joyous, happy person – so this really is proper acting!”

So how far will he take it?

“You just rely on your instincts, but obviously you remember that it is all good humoured. You aren’t going to run on with a chainsaw and swear a lot. You have got to get the audience booing you all the time, but you have to remember we are not actually doing a horror film. It is a lot of very good-humoured nastiness!”

Panto has been a natural progression for Chris.

“I was in a children’s TV show, and that linked very easily into panto. You have got the same target audience, and after that first year, I just thought there was no going back. What else would I do at Christmas! It’s a very high-energy show twice a day, and it is just such great fun to do.”

Chris presented the kids TV show Hi-5 for years. Hi-5 was shown on CiTV, ITV, ITV4, Cartoonito and Boomerang.

His theatre experience includes: Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (tour), Macbeth/A Midsummer Night’s Dream/Lady Be Good (all at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Robin Hood in Robin Hood/Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island (both Wicked Productions), Enjoy (Watford Palace), Norma Jeane (KSW), Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (Uk Tour), Falstaff/Flames of Paris/Idomeneo/Tales of Hoffmann (all at The Royal Opera House), Again and Against (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs) and The Wizard of Oz (Enchanted Entertainment Tour).

Tickets for Jack and The Beanstalk are on sale from 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com.

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