The Fabulous Josh takes to the Pompey panto stage

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The Fabulous Josh, as he calls himself, combines the role of panto horse and dame as Curtain Call bring Rapunzel – The Tangled Panto to the Lens Studio, Portsmouth Guildhall this Christmas, promising a fun, intimate, interactive show (December 19-27).

“I don't use my government name,” says The Fabulous Josh, explaining his name.

“But I did the first panto with the company when we did Robin Hood and The Babes and it was great fun. I've never been a massive fan of panto. I come from the drag cabaret world and in that world doing panto is a bit of a taboo. When you're doing drag and cabaret you're used to playing in the back end of pubs. My first experience with drag was the night clubs of London but actually to come to the panto world was quite magical, to see it through the eyes of the children and to see what it stands for. And what I really love about Curtain Call is that it is such a lovely set-up. Everyone comes back to it and everyone is really supportive. There are all sorts of WhatsApp groups and people are just really attached to it.

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“Lots of my background has been using community arts as a way of supporting the community, and when you are writing funding applications you realise that you've already got all the elements that you need for pantomime. They exist already. It's about the young people and we just see how excited they are on Christmas Eve. They are just so super excited and there is lovely energy and the energy you get from young people is so special, I think, that it just takes it to the next level where it really doesn't become a job at all and just feels like such a lovely experience. Plus the fact there is just a wonderful campy-ness about panto. The choreography is just so fabulously campy and fun. And I love the fact that there is a formula to it, that the baddies come on from one side of the stage, that the goodies come on from the other side, that it is just so steeped in this great British tradition. As a theatre-goer and as a theatre-maker I just love that.”

The Fabulous Josh as Pegasus the Stallion (Picture: Vernon Nash)The Fabulous Josh as Pegasus the Stallion (Picture: Vernon Nash)
The Fabulous Josh as Pegasus the Stallion (Picture: Vernon Nash)

After the panto, The Fabulous Josh will be working towards the next show from his own theatre company Downtown Pompey.

“What we do is create original theatre through a queer lens. At the moment we are working on a show about a Pompey nightclub from the late 80s through to the noughties, one particular club, Joanna’s which was opposite South Parade Pier. The show is called Sticky Floors And Palm Trees and what is so much fun about it is the fact that we have been interviewing people across Portsmouth about their clubbing stories and somebody said ‘I didn't know Joanna's but just from the title I know exactly what you mean!’ I love that glamour and I love that campy fun.”

The show on December 23 at 2.30pm will be a fully BSL-interpreted show. There will be a relaxed performance which is BSL interpreted on December 23 at 11am. Tickets from the venue.

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