Five Minutes with the Fabulous Doreen Tipton

Doreen Tipton is a legend in her own lifetime. The first person in the United Kingdom to be diagnosed with ‘Lazy Cow Syndrome’, this awful disability hasn’t stopped Doreen from becoming an icon, first in her beloved Black Country, and now on the way to conquering the world. Ahead of this year’s Wolverhampton Grand pantomime, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, I had a chat with Doreen at the stunning Mount Hotel. Unfortunately, Doreen was feeling a little tired, probably as a result of lazy cow syndrome, and so she had a little rest in bed. Nevertheless, I spoke to Doreen (and her ultra-ego Gill Jordan) about this year”s panto, and life in general.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK – PANTO – GRAND WVH
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre Jack and the Beanstalk Panto photo-call
Picture by Adam Fradgley

Fashion-Mommy: Last year you played the Lazy Empress in Aladdin, tell me about your character this year, is it true you’re playing yourself?

Doreen: Sort of. This year I’m playing Dame Trott’s lazy next door neighbour, who happens to be called Doreen.

FM: Do you get recognised out of character?

DT: I never get recognised out of character. When I’m Doreen people shout to me in the street, come over to me and often act as if we were life long friends, which is really lovely. I hardly ever do interviews as Gill. I think people want to believe that Doreen is real.

FM: What is the reaction to Doreen outside of the Midlands?

DT: I think it is more to do with humour than geography – you either get Doreen or you don’t. It’s about being on that particular wavelength, a little bit like Monty Python, lots of people don’t get it, but others love it. What I find interesting is that the audience spans right across the age groups, from young kids to 90 year olds.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK – PANTO – GRAND WVH
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre Jack and the Beanstalk Panto photo-call
Picture by Adam Fradgley

FM: Why do you think you appeal to the young?

DT: I think personally the young find me funny for the same reason’s they find their parents or grandparents funny, they recognise the same sort of humour that they see in their own older relatives.

FM: Is Doreen based on anyone in particular?

DT: No, not any one person, but more a generalisation from lots of different people. But lots of people recognise Doreen as someone they know.

FM: You’ve returned to the Grand Theatre for this year’s panto – why was that?

DT: I had such a fantastic time last year, everything was perfect, the cast, the backstage staff,and the Grand is such a wonderful theatre. I just couldn’t resist!

FM: Is there any particular character in pantomime that you would love to play?

DT: (in a big, booming voice) Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all. I would love to play the Wicked Queen from Snow White, a vicious queen.

FM: How did you persuade Robert Plant to be in your movie?

DT: I know, I still pinch myself about that. I think the best answer is that I am a big fan of Robert, and Robert is a fan of Doreen’s. It was amazing!

Sat 9 Dec – Sun 14 Jan

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

Wolverhampton Grand, click here for ticket information.

Aladdin at the Wolverhampton Grand – Fantastic Entertainment

You know when Santa is starting to pack up the sleigh when Panto season begins, and last night the Wolverhampton Grand got the season off to a flying start with a wonderfully funny version of Aladdin, starring a host of hilarious stars and absolutely delighting the audience with its sheer fun and exuberance. It is, quite frankly, the best Wolverhampton Grand panto in years and I enjoyed every single minute of it.

All the key elements were in place with X Factor winner Joe McElderry showing off the amazing vocal talent that made him such a runaway winner. He is well matched with his beautiful princess, Britain’s got Talent’s Lucy Kay, and their vocal skills and winning personalities make them enchanting romantic leads. I often think that these roles are quite thankless in comparison to the showy comic roles, but Joe and Lucy handle them with charm and style.

joe-mc

But of course, panto is all about those comic elements, the men dressed as women, the silly sidekick, and, in this case, the Queen, played by the first woman to be diagnosed with ‘lazy Cow Syndrome’. Because, yes, Doreen Tipton was back in town, stealing every single scene she appeared in with her stories of the job centre, disability allowance, and her daughter’s, Trojan, Tangerine and Trollop! She is hilarious, side splittingly funny, and although her jokes probably went over the head of the children in the room, the adults were in stitches.

Matching her in the comic stakes is Wishy Washy, played with amazing energy by the brilliant Adam Booth. He is the kids favourite and displays the sort of slapstick comedy you now only see in panto. Ian Adams is a perfect panto dame, quick witted with brilliant asides and wearing those hysterical costumes which seemed to get wilder and wilder as the show goes on. Lisa Riley makes a sassy, feisty slave of the ring, and even got to show off the brilliant dance skills that made her such a success in Strictly Come Dancing. She also has a fantastic fun chemistry with Neal Wright, a very cool genie of the lamp.

lisa-and-wishy

adam-c-booth-as-wishee-washee-ian-adams-as-widow-twankey-and-stefan-pejic-as-abanazar

Every panto needs a baddie, and Abanazar , played by Stefan Pejic, is a real nasty piece of work, with great stage presence and dark humour. Rounding out the impressive cast, children’s TV favourite Ben Faulks, aka Mr Bloom, played PC Ping Pong and proved himself to be a panto natural, especially in the showcase song which he performs with Lisa Riley, Adam Booth and Ian Adams which descends into the best sort of farce – pure mayhem.

baddy

ben

With glorious songs, a wonderful elephant and a magical flight on a magic carpet, this is truly entertainment for the whole family. As I said before, I loved every single minute of it.

ALADDIN – The Magical Pantomime Adventure

Wed 14 Dec – Sun 22 Jan

Click here for ticket information