Daniel Page, who has an extensive list of West End and touring credits including Billy Elliot The Musical, The Secret Garden (RSC), The Producers, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and La Cage Aux Folles and is much-loved as ‘Exeter’s Favourite Panto Dame’, chats to us about Guildford Fringe’s (late) Summer Adult Panto, Pinocchio Gets Wood.

The closure of theatre’s means that Guildford Fringe cannot currently deliver the show to audiences in person at the scheduled venue The Back Room of the Star Inn, instead, the cast will still perform there live each night and it will be streamed so people can safely watch at home.

Tickets for Pinocchio Gets Wood – strictly for the grown-ups – are now on sale from GuildfordFringe.com

You’re starring as Dame Ciabatta in Guildford Fringe’s Pinocchio Gets Wood, what can you tell us about it?

He’s a scary clown that hides in drains written by Stephen King but I don’t know what that’s got to do with Panto?? Oh, you mean the Panto… well, Pinocchio Gets Wood – naughty, hilarious and most importantly it is LIVE theatre!!

This won’t be the normal summer adult panto, how has it had to adapt in light of the pandemic?

Well, we have no live audience, as such, but the millions (!) can now watch the show socially distanced in their pyjamas from the comfort of their own homes. I’m going to be live in your living rooms – or wherever you want me – on smart TVs and mobile devices. You may not be able to get to the theatre but I am coming to you. Instead of performing to the 100s in the theatre we can be viewed worldwide.

Every night will be different, how will that work?

Depends which lines I remember and in what order… but other than that everyone who books for the show will be sent a little questionnaire to fill out and those answers could be used during the shows. I hope we can bring a little bit of you to me wherever you may be and add that special personal touch which we all love every now and then.

How do you feel about performing to an empty theatre, and will you have to work differently because of the remote audience?

I haven’t actually thought about that yet …. what no audience? It is certainly going to be interesting, oh yes it is! (Awkward silence)

What’s your favourite thing about working on these adult pantos?

Actually, this is my first Adult Panto but believe me, any normal Panto is full of innuendo.  I like to see what I can and can’t get away with at Christmas. This is a bit more full on, straight to the knuckle, bit of spit and on past the elbow…!

What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Pinocchio Gets Wood?

Why are you thinking? It hurts! Get booking… the more the merrier!

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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