I CAN’T WAIT FOR PANTO’ says Pat D

PATRICK Duffy may have bitten of more than he can chew, but like any Texan worth his Stetson he is going to gulp it all down anyway.

For the man who played Dallas’s Bobby Ewing for 13 years has swapped his checked shirt for the tight-fitting breeches of Baron Von Hardup in the New Victoria Theatre’s pantomime Cinderella, which starts next month.

“This is the nearest to a job I have ever had in my life,” said Patrick, after jumping the pond last month for a frantic week of costume fittings and script rehearsals.
“This is hard work. Normally with a play you do eight shows a week at the most — that’s what I assumed was the deal here.
“It wasn’t until I had already committed when they said: ‘No, no, we do two a day, six days a week’.
“I just love pantomime, it is so magical.
“There is so much to be said for the fantastic sets and costumes and everything. I can’t wait.”

Despite his recent transatlantic flight, Patrick’s sense of humour still seemed as bright as the star on the fairy godmother’s wand and though there are long hours ahead, he said he was relishing the prospect of pantomime.
He said: “It’s a big family event but I’m thinking, as a parent myself, a great percentage of the enjoyment parents get is from seeing the joy on the children’s faces. There’s a lot of magic to it.

“It is the one time of year when all the branches of the family are together, the one time when all the children get together to watch a panto, screaming and wailing and throwing things.
“I am used to doing theatre for 200 people not for 1,300 screaming children. I think I’m going to need a bodyguard — I don’t trust those little rug rats.”
As a practising Buddhist, some might have expected Christmas not to be a festival celebrated by Patrick. “Not at all, I’m the maniacal Christmas freak,” he laughed.
“You have no idea. I am so more Christmas than anyone I know. I have crates and crates of decorations that are for every room in the house.
“I have a model Christmas village which started out on the back of a piano and is now 30 feet long. It takes a good two weeks to put on all the tree decorations. It’s unbelievable how much I love Christmas.

“The good thing about being a Buddhist is that you can celebrate everybody’s holidays. I say ‘now I would like a drink and a big piece of steak’ — it’s that kind of Buddhism.”
Patrick scoffed at tabloid rumours that he was going to pull out from the panto because he had mistaken Woking for the West End.
He said: “They made all that stuff up. From the moment I said I was coming, there was never, ever a question.”
And Woking, even in comparison to the bright lights of theatre land, was anything but sleepy in Patrick’s eyes after growing up on the prairies of Montana.
He said: “This is a huge town compared to where I was born and raised. It was a town of 700 people and that included every farm and ranch.
“This is a metropolitan area as far as I’m concerned so I’m comfortable. I can’t wait for Christmas here.”
Tickets are now on sale for Cinderella, which also stars Susan Hampshire as the Fairy Godmother, from December 7 until January 21. Call 01483 545900 for details

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