Berwick Kaler, Britain’s longest serving panto dame and over three and a half decades he has assembled a loyal cast who come back to the city each year.
However, parts in the West End production of Matilda and a new version of Chicago meant York had to go in search of a new baddie. Leonard’s replacement did a pretty fine job, but a York Theatre Royal panto without him was a bit like fish without chips, apple pie without cream.
Thankfully, the planets and Leonard’s diary aligned and he’s back where he belongs this Christmas, alongside other panto regulars Martin Barrass and Suzy Cooper.
Kaler also writes and directs and his years of experience show in the carefully orchestrated mayhem.
There is the usual cameo appearance by Look North’s Harry Gration, AJ Powell is as wonderfully camp as ever – this year as the forgotten King of the Fairies – and the song and dance numbers are perfectly choreographed.
Like a fine wine, York Theatre Royal’s panto gets better with age and this is a vintage year.