Third Shoreham panto in a row for Nick Beat
“I think for me it's just good to know the area and to get to know the audience,” Nick says. “You know who you're playing to. You know what is going to work and what isn't going to work. And I would say that Shoreham audiences are very switched-on audiences. They like having to find the jokes sometimes but they're also very warm audiences and I know that we get a really lovely response in Shoreham. This is my third one on the trot in Shoreham and it really is such a great panto venue. The Ropetackle are always really supportive of panto and really invested in pantomime and it seems that they just really enjoy having panto there.
“For me I grew up on panto and what I love is that for young people it's often their very first introduction into the theatre, the first thing that they see on the stage and I just love being part of making sure it is as good as it possibly can be and just giving them the very best experience. I think in pantomime you have to have a good balance between the plot and the comedy. You don't want the silly stuff to take over. The kids have to be really invested in the magic but you also need some great upbeat songs and you need a proper story. Basically panto, I think, just needs to be the show that never stops moving.”
Obviously this year in Shoreham it's Jack and the Beanstalk: “But I don't think it really matters which panto you are doing as long as you get it right. I'm playing Jack this year and it's pretty full on for me this time. I am Jack combined with the comic. I will be doing the comedy stuff but he is also the hero of the piece, but the thing that is quite nice about Jack is that he is not your typical dashing prince. He is much more an everyman.”
Combined with the Buttons type role: “And that is going to be quite a challenge having to flip between the two, going from the really funny bits to the more serious bits – though obviously it is never going to get really serious. We're not doing Shakespeare after all!”
Since Shoreham last year, Nick has done a number of other shows including directing couple of shows for young people, and he has detected a change in the air: “It really feels this is the year that everything has really started to recover post pandemic. I don't think the work was quite there the year before but gradually things have been getting better again and I think it's really just that people have started finding their feet again. Obviously the pandemic was a really heavy blow for the industry and a lot of companies have disappeared and just haven't come back again but we're starting to see a few new companies emerging and I do think there's more confidence around now. I do think we are on the mend.”