MY WEEK (September 18, 2014): A weird and wonderful press call at The Hawth

Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty

There’s so much going on in the Horsham District that I usually don’t have time to go further afield.

When it comes to previews and reviews my focus remains fairly local.

Even if I want to interview a comedian or musician performing at a large venue elsewhere in Sussex, I usually have to do it over the phone.

So it was nice to go along to a press call at the end of last week. The Hawth, Crawley, got in touch to say that the cast of their 2014 pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, were going to be in full costume at the venue on Friday, September 12 (see page 52).

After meeting the producers, photographers and other journalists, the panto stars came into the foyer. I was expecting some wacky and colourful costumes and I was not disappointed.

Michael Batchelor, who plays Nurse Nellie, had a particularly impressive outfit on. He caused me to raise my eyebrows even further than I already had when he revealed that he’d made the costume himself.

The outfits didn’t seem to faze any of the performers though. They all seemed to be too excited about the show to mind wearing them. CBeebies presenter Cat Sandion (The Good Fairy) had a delightfully bubbly attitude towards panto in general, while Crawley-born Lauren Cocoracchio was thrilled to have been given the title role.

Stephen Mulhern (the court jester Jangles) was a very pleasant man to talk to, introducing himself to me before the interviews officially started and giving energetic and thoughtful responses to all my questions.

Hilary O’Neil was interesting to chat to as well. She talked about her experience in the entertainment industry from her TV break on Copycats to her recent work performing all over the world. I could have written twice as much as I did but, sadly, I had to restrict my article to about 800 words.

I was mainly at The Hawth for the interviews, as the venue emailed me a selection of their photographs from the day. However, I did get some video footage of the conversations.

I’m not sure when that will appear online but I’ll tweet a link as soon as it’s up.