There are so few shows the whole family can enjoy says star of Ipswich Regent’s Easter panto, Bobby Davro
- Credit: Archant
Actor, comedian and impressionist Bobby Davro is off to see The Wizard of Oz. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage finds out more about the Ipswich Regent’s Easter pantomime.
“We’re having a lot of fun. We’re laughing because Dani Harmer’s tummy is getting bigger and bigger - she looks like a Weeble. We’re all giving her our chairs and sitting her down,” says Davro, who plays the brainless Scarecrow.
If you didn’t know, CBBC’s Tracy Beaker and Strictly Come Dancing star Harmer - interviewed here - is currently six months pregnant with her first child. It gets mentioned a bit during the show.
“It’s a family show but we do make reference to a little bit of a bump, something like ‘come on home there Dorothy, Aunty Em is baking fresh bread and I heard there’s a little bun in the oven’,” laughs the actor, comedian and impressionist. “Things like that, nothing too risqué.”
You need a level you have to play to pantomimes. Davro plays to the adults rather than the children. He believes if adults aren’t enjoying themselves, neither will the kids.
“As long as you’re not being too suggestive, rude or filthy, no bad words you and make everyone laugh and it’s a great feeling, looking down seeing youngsters, teenagers, mums, dads, grans and grandpas all laughing as a family, I’m proud of that.”
Enchanted Entertainment’s Easter pantomime follows Dorothy and co down the Yellow Brick Road.
Picked up by a tornado and carried off to the magical Land of Oz, she and Toto make new friends in the shape of the Munchkins, a Scarecrow in need of a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart and a Cowardly Lion looking for courage. Will the wonderful Wizard of Oz be able to help them before the Wicked Witch of the West captures them?
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It’s packed with well-known pop songs, dance routines, laughs and lots of audience participation.
Davro has written most of the comedy in the show, at the Ipswich Regent at 2pm and 5.30pm on April 5.
“You get sent a script and scriptwriters, unless they’re comics, can put in funnies but they’re not necessarily ‘funny funnies’. You take them out and replace them with lines which hopefully you’ll get a lot of laughs.”
While he loves comedy roles, he’d love to do more serious acting.
“I was in EastEnders for 14 months (playing Vinnie Monks) but they couldn’t pay me as much as I could earn doing gigs and pantomimes and I had to make a decision, does the family come first? I did a play last year called Not a Game For Boys (an acclaimed revival of Simon Block’s comedy about three cabbies seeking respite from their lives in a local table tennis league). It was fantastic and such a refreshing change for me. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done in 20 years.
“I like to do comedy roles, I like to do everything, I feel as though I’m capable of doing it; it’s just being asked to do it.”
Stand-up is preoccupying a lot of his energy right now. He’s been working on new impressions for his upcoming tour which starts next month. During our chat he lurches from Michael McIntyre and John Bishop - whom he bumped into recently in a West End bar while impersonating him - to Sarah Millican, Alan Carr and David Mitchell.
“Loads of impressions that I’ll be doing are contemporary. You think ‘I’m not going to pay to go see someone who does impressions from the 1980s; my impressions are kept up to date - it’s just you don’t get to see them on stage.”
Back to The Wizard of Oz, which Davro says has lots of charm and tells the story very nicely; although don’t come thinking you’re going to hear Somewhere Over The Rainbow or We’re Off to See The Wizard because they’re not allowed to use the music from the famous film.
“There are so few shows that you can come along with your small children, teenagers who go ‘oh no, I don’t want to come’ but when they do they have a blinking good time. You can shout out, heckle, join in with the songs, dance in aisles - I get the kids bouncing up and down in the kangaroo routine. You can come with your entire family and it’s so much better than shooting down the pub with one child, the other one’s going out with a boyfriend... I’m very much a man that has family values.”