October 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, September 1, 2014
From Curly Watts to Captain Hook - actor Kevin Kennedy is set to take on the role of the seafaring villain in this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime Peter Pan.
And the actor - who spent 20 years playing Curly in the ITV soap Coronation Street - was having a great time yesterday as he practised his pirate “arrrrs!” and played the swash-buckling pantomime baddie for publicity shots ahead of the Christmas show.
“It’s a great part, it’s much more fun to be the baddie than the goodie!” he said.
“This is the first time I’ve played a baddie in pantomime, but before this I’ve played the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and he was probably the most evil bloke I’ve ever played. There’s no redeeming feature with the Child Catcher, but Captain Hook is going to be fun. He’s not entirely bad, I think he had a terrible, terrible childhood.”
The Peter Pan production will be Kevin’s seventh pantomime, and he said he loved doing the festive shows because they help inspire the next generation of audiences, actors and theatre professionals.
“I can’t think of a better job to do over Christmas because all the kids have such a great time,” he said.
About the Peter Pan story in particular, he said: “First and foremost it’s a beautiful story, it’s fun and it’s exciting and there’s everything in it for children, there’s pirates, there’s princesses, fairies and crocodiles - and Captain Hook!”
Since his Coronation Street days Kevin has carved a successful career on the stage, appearing in shows such as Chicago, The Rocky Horror Show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and We Will Rock You.
However it is his 20 years in Weatherfield - from 1983 to 2003 - that made him a household name, and Kevin said he was proud of being a part of the long-running soap.
“I’m very proud indeed of what we managed to do there for 20 years. I’m proud of those story lines, I’m proud of the effect that we had on the nation, it was just marvellous,” he said, adding that he would not rule out returning to the show at some point.
“I think there’s a rumour every three months that I’m going back and to be honest I’ve no idea, if that happens that’s brilliant, but if it doesn’t that’s life.”
When asked about what he enjoyed most about playing Curly, he said: “I was very lucky, I had a lot of different story lines. I had the dramatic and heartbreaking love triangle with Des Barnes and Raquel and Curly, and that was heavy duty love story stuff, and then I had the slapstick of Reg and Curly in the supermarket and everything in between.
“I was very lucky I got to play a great range of stories, some funny, some sad, some heartbreaking, so as an actor it was a joy because I was never bored there was always something else to do, there was always another aspect of this character that we’d not explored and it was just good fun.”
Kevin, who lives in Brighton and has visited Norwich once before to watch Manchester City play at Carrow Road, said he was looking forward to spending the festive season in Norwich and that his wife Clare and their children Katy-May, 10, and Grace, eight, would also be joining him.
“They will be here as soon as school finishes for the Christmas holidays...because they are theatre children basically, Katy-May was born during Chicago and Grace was born during Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so they are kind of almost related to the theatre, theatre is family to them.”
Also starring in this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal production of Peter Pan is CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane, who will play the Dame, and Cromer Pier favourite Ben Langley, who will play pirate Starkey.
The show is being written and directed by Theatre Royal pantomime stalwart Richard Gauntlett who will also play Smee,
• Peter Pan runs from December 18 to January 18 at Norwich Theatre Royal. Tickets £5.50-£21. To book call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
• Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at email@example.com