All work and all play at the Forum

Snow White is put through her paces by the seven dwarfs on stage during the Millennium Forum panto.
Snow White is put through her paces by the seven dwarfs on stage during the Millennium Forum panto.

Locked in a messy dressing room with the seven dwarfs, some even running about in a state of undress, (stand up Loopy), it is clear that this is not going to be your average everyday interview: But then when do shaving foam and Ewoks ever come up in the same conversation?

Nothing it seems is sacred to these actors. Living and working together since the curtain rose on the panto on November 18, this ‘wee gang’ have been running amok both on stage and off since rehersals began.

The Pantomime is blessed with seven ready comedians thanks to the talents of Andy Herd (Grumbly), Audrey Wilson (Snoozy), Bernadette Windsor (Sniffly), Joe Cleere (Prof), Matthew Woodman (Cheeky), Scott English (Loopy) and Tara Owens (Groovy).

“We didn’t all know each other before we started but some of us have worked together previously,” said Tara.

The players are only seven days into a 42 show run but already they all have plans to return to the Forum for William Caulfield’s (Nurse Molly Coddle) solo show in the New Year. If you’re going, pray you aren’t sitting beside them in the audience!

“The cast are just brilliant, mad but brilliant” said Bernadette Windsow. “Everyone is so funny and the Queen (Kerri Quinn) has a fabulous voice.”

Audrey said: “I love it here. It is my first time in Derry but it is good craic and we have Nurse Molly Coddle, Snow White, The Wicked Queen and Prince Charming tortured. Not to mention the crew, we’ve them killed with shaving foam.”

And all this occurs while the show is running? I ask: “Mostly” is the choral response.

“There is certainly a good amount of mischief, that’s my favourite part of the show.

“There is no hard part in this job it is all fun,” laughs the group’s resident hellraiser Audrey. “We just wont be letting the crew settle at all,” she part laughs, part threatens.

“She is worth watching,” chimes Matthew, “We almost ended up in hospital with her cooking and she just laughed,” belts out Joe Cleere.

The seven dwarves are all experienced stage hands but Andy Herd has the most extensive CV. “Well I am oldest,” he laughs. Roles in Labyrinth, Return of the Jedi and Harry Potter, suggest he is both oldest and the most experienced.

Surprisingly Andy rarely watches the ever popular Star Wars movies: “Well the Star Wars thing happened almost by chance and I’m not the biggest fan of the franchise,” he grumbles. “I got invited along and I haven’t looked back since. I spent two weeks as an Ewok and two as a Jawa.

“Those movies have such a loyal following that I still get invited to the Star Wars conventions.

“I can safely say there are lots of weird and wonderful people out there.”

So with all his acting experience, you might wonder which of his new colleagues he most resembles their character in real live?

Again the team answer in unison; “Cheeky, Matthew is the cheeky one.”

The group discussion quickly moves onto: “Audrey is the wildest one of us all she is never boring,”

Audrey adds: “It is brilliant crack and the cast are brilliant.

“The audiences have loved getting involved and that makes for a much better show.”

Catch the magnificent seven dwarfs at the Millennium Forum from now until Saturday, January 5. Tickets from 028 71 264455.