Stars of stage and screen have very often started off small but one Chester performer is beginning her career right at the bottom!
Laura Roberts is a professional dance teacher but her ‘udder’ role this festive season is as the back end of Daisy the Cow in a Chester panto.
Bringing up the rear in Tip Top Productions’ Jack and the Beanstalk, Laura couldn’t do her job without professional actor and colleague Andrew Rawlinson-Heath, who pulled the rather longer straw to lead from the front.
Starring alongside The Voice star Joe Woolford in the title role, the duo help him and his brother Silly Willy, played by Dan Ellis, and their mum Dame Trot (Kevin Dewsbury) in all sorts of adventures.
Andrew, from Wrexham, obviously has a soft spot for working with, or as, animals as his first professional role was playing Tommy the Cat in Dick Whittington at The Forum Studio Theatre last year, having performed with Tip Top for many years in numerous productions including This is my Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, The King and I, The Full Monty and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Earlier this year, Andrew was once again hidden from view, bringing children’s favourite Makka Pakka to life in a nationwide theatre tour of “In The Night Garden”.
Laura has worked alongside, or behind, Andrew in many Tip Top Shows over the years. Most recently they were both seen on stage in Tip Top’s sell out production of Grease at Theatr Clwyd in Mold.
As a dance teacher Laura works with a number of local theatre schools as well as having appeared in several professional productions including Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Evita and pantomimes throughout the North West.
Speaking about their role, Laura said: “Daisy the Cow is the first time that we have ever worked together without seeing each other!”
Andrew added: “I have the best part because I get to see the children’s faces and reactions when I make Daisy’s eye’s blink, make her look sad or open her mouth to laugh and moo.
Laura said: “I have just a much fun in the back as I get to work her udders and tail. I even get to squirt water on an unsuspecting audience member!”
Director Steve Davies said: “Andy and Laura have been meticulous in their preparation for playing Daisy; she makes people laugh and cry at the same time and it’s all down to their skills as performers. Often animal parts are overlooked but from the feedback we have been receiving Daisy is seen by audiences as the cream of the crop - sorry about the pun, but that’s panto for you. And I’ll bet it’s Chester’s first tap dancing bovine.”
Jack and the Beanstalk runs at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester until January 6, 2017. Full details of performance dates and show times can be found at www.chestertheatre.co.uk where tickets can be booked online. Alternatively, contact the Box Office on 01244 341296.