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Tributes to a well known Norwich pantomime star in the 1970s and 1980s

PUBLISHED: 14:40 07 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:51 07 February 2017

IC142: Yvonne Marsh on stage. Photo: Archant Library

IC142: Yvonne Marsh on stage. Photo: Archant Library

Archant Library

Tributes have been paid to a big star of Norwich Theatre Royal’s pantomimes in the 1970s and 1980s.

Yvonne Marsh - Prince Charming in Cindarella and the magic slipper, 1979. Picture: Archant LibraryYvonne Marsh - Prince Charming in Cindarella and the magic slipper, 1979. Picture: Archant Library

Yvonne Marsh, who died last Thursday aged 85, was famous for playing the principal boy roles.

Among her many Norwich pantomimes, she starred in Aladdin with John Inman, Mother Goose with Kathy Staff, and Babes in the Wood with Richard Briers.

Jenni Goodwin, who worked alongside her as wardrobe mistress on the pantomimes, said: “She was a very special friend.

“She was one of the greats. She was the number one principal boy, and you respected her because she knew everything from lighting to sets, everything. She was equal to all the big stars to me.”

Yvonne Marsh as Aladdin. Aladdin and his wonderful lamp - Theatre Royal Norwich, 1975. Picture: Archant LibraryYvonne Marsh as Aladdin. Aladdin and his wonderful lamp - Theatre Royal Norwich, 1975. Picture: Archant Library

She said they also enjoyed working together on summer seasons at Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Theatre and at Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth.

Pat Adams, who was pantomime choreographer as well as working on other shows, said: “She was a terrific worker and she really was determined to put on a good show, which she always did, and I think everybody admired her for it.”

Charlotte Corbett, who was a dancer in Babes in the Wood, said: “What a wonderful director and performer Yvonne was, and a very honest and truthful friend, and very loyal to her dancing girls.”

Neville Miller, Evening News theatre critic at the time, said: “She was the absolute queen of the principal boys...She had great vivacity and could put over a song with extraordinary verve and meaning...She was simply the best.”

IC140: On stage - Yvonne Marsh pictures in a solo spot during the pantomime's run, dated in the 1980s. Photo: Archant LibraryIC140: On stage - Yvonne Marsh pictures in a solo spot during the pantomime's run, dated in the 1980s. Photo: Archant Library

Jane Walsh, pantomime executive producer at the theatre today, said: “Yvonne Marsh was a key part of the panto team on-stage and off through the late seventies and into the early eighties...Her legacy at helping to build up the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime into such a success with stunning production values and a talented cast is still evident today.”

Ms Marsh played the title roles in the Theatre Royal’s 1975 production of Aladdin and the 1976 production of Dick Whittington, before directing Babes in the Wood in 1978 and playing Robin Hood. She directed the next two year’s pantomimes as well as starring in them, playing Prince Charming in Cinderella and the title role of Robinson Crusoe. She directed Aladdin in 1981 and returned to the stage in 1982 as Mother Goose’s son Colin.

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