Final curtain call for popular Sheringham pantomime dame
07:00 01 January 2015
Archant Norfolk 2014
He has been a popular character on the north Norfolk pantomime scene, appearing in an array of outrageous costumes for the past five years.
But Russel Hicken is treading the boards at Sheringham Little Theatre in Robin Hood for the final time this year until the curtains close on Saturday.
He plays Nurse Polly Tix and his first role was Widow Twankey in Aladdin in 2010.
Other dame characters included Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington, Dame Molly Coddle in Jack and the Beanstalk, Nurse Nanny Knotty Knickers in Snow White.
Mr Hicken, 38, who grew up in north Devon and Penzance, said: “The final night will be quite emotional. Robin Hood is one of the funniest shows we have done.
“Sheringham Little Theatre has such a lovely feel about it. The audience is so close and for a pantomime, that is amazing. I feel I have made friends for life at Sheringham.”
After pursuing his childhood acting dream, he completed a three-year degree in musical theatre at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London after finishing his A-levels.
He has acted professionally in the capital within musical theatre for the past 15 years.
Mr Hicken, who is moving back to Penzance, said: “When I started at Sheringham I gave it my all because I didn’t know if it would work or I would work as dame. Surprisingly I found it quite easy.
“Pantomime isn’t like any other show. In a normal show you pretend the audience are not there by using a so-called fourth wall, but with pantomime you completely smash that wall.
“I love the unpredictability of pantomime and it is such a fantastic way to spend Christmas.”
He felt lucky with the camaraderie between current and past show performers, whom he described as a family.
The most challenging part of being dame was getting the audience to like the character, as well the many costume changes.
“I always envy the other cast because they get one costume. I have to change mine every time I go off stage,” he said.
Memorable costumes include a cupcake outfit in Dick Whittington, a Dalek costume in Snow White and a teacup hat in Aladdin.
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