Snow White welcomes back Nigel
THE show must go on for pantomime dame, Nigel Ellacott, who is making a return to the Kenneth More Theatre as a solo act after the death of his stage partner Peter Robbins earlier this year. The pair were known as the Morecambe and Wise of pantomime and
THE show must go on for pantomime dame, Nigel Ellacott, who is making a return to the Kenneth More Theatre as a solo act after the death of his stage partner Peter Robbins earlier this year.
The pair were known as the Morecambe and Wise of pantomime and lit up stages across the country as the UK's leading Ugly Sisters every Christmas for nearly 30 years.
But in April, Peter died suddenly at the age of 56.
This week Nigel returns to the KMT, Oakfield Road, Ilford, where it all started, in the role of Dame Dolly Doughnut in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
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He said: "It's a daunting prospect. I'm not nervous but I'm definitely out of my comfort zone because playing a dame is entirely different to playing an Ugly Sister.
"The Ugly Sisters are funny, but they also have to be the villains, so you have to balance getting the laughs and the boos.
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"Now I only have to worry about getting the laughs."
Nigel - brother of KMT general manager Vivyan - admits that being back in Ilford has made the transition easier and he is looking forward to spending Christmas at home.
But the 56-year-old ,who is passionate about panto, fears the 200-year-old art form is being threatened by modern-day distractions.
He said: "There are so many choices these days.
"Parents must have to ask themselves 'Do I go out in the cold or do I just buy the kids another DVD or a new game for the Wii?'
"This is what we are competing against and if we're not careful, children will begin to think that entertainment is something you get from your sofa in the front room."
Outside the panto season he takes his show on the road to schools all over the country in a bid to inspire a new generation of theatre-goers.
After the death of Peter, the thought of reprising the role of Ugly Sister with a new partner remains unthinkable for Nigel.
He said: "It wouldn't be fair to anybody else.
"There would always be a huge part of me saying 'he didn't do it like that' because it was an amazing partnership."
In recognition of Peter's contribution to the theatre, Nigel plans to give all of their costumes to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs from tomorrow (Thurs) until January 23, and tickets are available from the box office on 020 8553 4466.