Lemetti and Mirren promising panto mayhem in Bognor Regis

Scottish duo Lemetti and Mirren will once again be in Bognor Regis with their panto double act this Christmas.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 10:33 am
Jamie Lemetti as Scarecrow. Credit youreventphotography.uk

In fact their double act will become a triple act.

Jamie Lemetti (Scarecrow) and Alan Mirren (Tin Man) will be joined by Jamie Bannerman as The Lion on the Regis Centre stage.

The Wizard of Oz is in the Alexandra Theatre from Wednesday, December 11-Saturday, January 4.

As Alan says: “This is our third show in Bognor. We did Snow White in 2014 and we did Aladdin in 2016. And Jamie will make it a triple act. We know Jamie well.”

As for the double act, it began in Motherwell in 2012: “We didn’t know each other when we were cast, and we just really hit it off.

“We didn’t meet until the press launch day for the show, and we just got on so well, and ever since then we have worked together, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and Aladdin and now The Wizard of Oz.

“We see quite a lot of each other during the year as well, and we have become very good friends. I think we have both got the same sense of humour, and we have worked with each other so often that we kind of know what the other is thinking: if Jamie does a line differently one day, then I will know what to do and where to go with it. It is that question of knowing each other’s thinking.

“I absolutely love panto, but I wouldn’t actually say that I specialise in panto.

“I love doing it, but this year I have done a lot of Shakespeare which I really love – though I definitely enjoy panto.”

This year in Glasgow, he has appeared in Hamlet as Claudius and in Henry V as the baddie of the piece, the French prince.

“But actually I think pantomime is more demanding than Shakespeare… I think the toughest jobs in the business are panto or theatre in education.

“The audience will always tell you how you are doing with that, and that is different in Shakespeare.

“You can’t tell in Shakepeare, but with panto they will be telling you all the time and also there is a lot of improvisation you can do in panto, which again makes it very challenging.

“Also I am sitting here in my Tin Man suit and it has got a latex mask and silver make-up and gloves and… well, I just think how simple my Hamlet costume was!”

Double act partner Jamie is equally thrilled to be back in Bognor Regis.

“I think so much of the enjoyment comes down to the venue, the volunteers, the management structure, just the people, and I love the real family vibe that you get at Bognor. They treat you very well and everyone appreciates what you do.”

This will be my eighth panto – and it is great to be teaming up with Alan again: “Alan is the tall handsome charming guy, and I am the small ditzy silly one in the double act.

“It is the classic Cannon & Ball type thing! We have each got our own ideas and every year we try to come up with something new, but Alan generally plays the straight guy and I am the stupid one.”

As for the rest of the year, Jamie is generally in Germany where he works with an English-language theatre company.

“My German is OK! If it is about beer and pretzels, then I am into that!”

Tickets for The Wizard of Ox at Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre are available on alexandratheatre.co.uk and 01243 861010.