Julie Paton and Ian Adams are stalwarts of the Wolverhampton Grand Panto, with both having starring roles and also working behind the scenes as the choreographer and director respectively of this years production ‘Dick Whittington‘. I went to chat to Julie and Ian at the Grand’s panto launch a few weeks ago, and they were joined by Newcomer Jordan Ginger, who will be playing the cat in this year’s production.
Fashion-mommy: Ian and Julie, you’re both returning to the Grand this year, Jordan it’s your first time. Tell me a little about your characters.
Ian: I’m Sarah the Cook, the mother of Idle Jack and all set for all the usual slapstick. It’s now my fourth year at the Grand.
Julie: I’m the fairy, and this is a traditional fairy. I was here last year, but the great thing about panto is that you get the chance to move into playing complete opposites.
Jordan: I’m cat. Currently the script is half written so I might go all method, in preparation I’ve seen ‘Cats and Dogs.’
FM: You are both returning (Julie and Ian) what do you love about the Grand?
Ian: We just love the Grand theatre, it has such a wonderful stage, and as we’ve both been involved in the Memory Cafe at the theatre each month we have warmed to the city and it’s people even more.
FM: First impressions Jordan?
JG: My first impressions are that it seems like a really nice place. I’ve just had my first look around the theatre and it’s all very exciting.
FM: Would you prefer to play a hero or a villain in panto?
JP: I was Carabosse last year, so if you’d have asked me last year I would’ve said that playing the baddie is by far the best role. Carabosse is my favourite character.
IA: Agreed. The baddie is the best. With the Dame people think you like dressing up as a woman, but its really nothing like that, its more that in frock you can be funny, it’s the chance to play funny. But I do like being a villain.
JG: Villains can be a lot of fun. It’s good to be able to play both sides of the coin.
FM: Tell me a little about the Memory Cafe.
IA: We were asked to do the Memory Cafe not really knowing what we were going to do. The cafe is around 30 minutes long and takes place in the theatre bar, it is a mixture of songs, and banter. Pure entertainment.
JP: Around 90 people turn up for each session. We started not knowing what we were going to do, but now we start each session with the same opening number and closing number and have a singalong which is a little bit like a warm hug.
IA: We’ve been knocked sideways by the response, it has turned into something remarkable.
FM: Tell me about some of your other roles Jordan.
JG: I’ve played at the Lichfield Garrick with Ian and Julie, So far I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve done, including Jersey Boys in Thailand, and an all male version of The Mikado.
FM: What would be, or would’ve been, your dream roles?
JP: My all time dream role is Maria in The Sound of Music.
IA: Terry Dennis in Privates on Parade, an incredible role, and again, a lot of drag.
JG: Ooh! Not sure, so many roles. Maybe Chewbacca’s wife in the new Star Wars movie…
Saturday 7 December 2019 – Sunday 12 January 2020
Performance times vary, please see website: grandtheatre.co.uk
Tickets from £16.50*
*A £3 booking fee applies to all purchases.