York panto Dame bows out in style

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York Theatre Royal has once again stepped up to the plate for its annual evening of ‘organised chaos’.

This year is a landmark as world class dame Berwick Kaler is appearing in his 40th - and final - York panto.

The Grand Old Dame of York is a combination of Berwick’s previous pantos and is a wonderful show for the whole family.

Berwick says it has has “no plot” and is “absolute rubbish”. The first part of that is true, but definitely not the second.

The Dame is backed by by an extremely talented cast, including Martin Barrass (32 Kaler pantos), David Leonard (29), Suzy Cooper (24) and AJ Powell (13) and the gifted ensemble also make the show a joy to watch.

The story involves David Leonard’s dastardly dentist Les Miserables trying to wipe the smile off Yorkshire faces. That proves to be very difficult when Berwick’s Dame Molly Motley is bringing the joy of laughter to sold out audiences.

While Martin Barrass’s Nobby Motley and Suzy Cooper’s Alexa Motley seek to make sure that their mother stays safe, AJ Powell’s AJ is out of the acting game and has to get a job with Les Miserable. Danielle Mulan’s Fairy Mary and Jake Lindsay’s Va Va Voom also have to try to make sure that Les Miserable don’t destroy the only laughter left in Britain.

Berwick has brought so much joy to York over the past 40 years and must be one of the greatest panto dames the world has ever seen.

He announced his retirement in late November and that makes this year’s monumental shows really emotional for him and the audience, many of whom haven’t seen a York panto without him.

The Grand Old Dame of York is a dazzling, five star show and is highly recommended as a thing to do for Christmas and early next year.

It features superb sets, amazing actors, a wonderful wet scene and the greatest dame the world will ever see.

The show runs until February 2.

Review by Luke Smith, aged 13.