Liverpool panto prince Liam says adults-only production is prescription for a great night out
2 years ago
Sleeping With Beauty is a new adult-only panto coming to the Epstein Theatre
Liverpool panto favourite Liam Mellor can’t wait to get back to the city’s Epstein Theatre with his latest production Sleeping With Beauty.
But as the title suggests, the show is aimed at adults only and comes with a warning from the comedy actor: by all means shout out – but be prepared for what might be fired back!
Liam says: “When you are doing a kids’ panto and people in the audience shout comments, there are often some things you want to shout back and can’t…
“But in an adult panto we can take things that step further and, for a comic, that’s great; so be warned, if you do shout out, what might come back.”
But he grins: “It’ll all be said and done with love, and a smile on my face.”
It’ll be a welcome return to Liverpool for Yorkshire-born Liam who’s been a popular player on the Merseyside panto scene for several years having starred in, and written, several productions for the Epstein Theatre and the Theatre Royal in St Helens, among others.
He also wrote Beauty and the Beast which successfully re-launched the Hanover Street theatre last Christmas, and he’s delighted to have played a part in its re-birth: “It’s great to see it back opening as it’s a part of Liverpool’s culture and the city itself, that must be used!” he says.
And it’s not just the theatre, but the city that has a special place in Liam’s heart.
“Liverpool is my home from home, any opportunity I get to come back here, I take it,” he says. “Even if it’s a weekend away, or a day trip out, I love coming to Liverpool.
“People watch you year after year and get to know you, and fall in love with the characters you play.
“They accept you and you feel like part of a big family. I’m constantly getting messages from people on Facebook and social media saying ‘when are you coming back?’ and yeah, it makes you feel like part of the family.
“You can’t beat people from up north!”
Liam’s fans will be delighted to know he’s returning soon with a 25-date tour of Sleeping With Beauty: It Started with a Prick!
But little fans of his hapless alter-ego Muddles will have to look away, because this one is just for the grown-ups.
It’s based on Sleeping Beauty, the classic children’s fairy tale in which Princess Aurora is cursed and falls into a deep sleep, only to be awoken by her true love’s kiss…but with some slight changes!
It stars Hollyoaks and Waterloo Road actor Ben-Ryan Davies as Prince Benjamin in his first ever adult pantomime. Liam is Jangles, the ‘Filthy and Fabulous’ Jimmy Burton-Iles is Queen Lusious Le-Coq, and the ‘Devilishly Wicked’ Robert Squire is Carabosse.
Stopping off at the Epstein on March 13, audiences are invited to find out whether Jangles gets to sleep with Beauty, if Carabosse will manage to give the princess a prick, and whether Queen Lusious Le-Coq gets to keep the Prince all for herself?
As Liam, the writer, producer, and director, reminds us: “This is one for all the BIG boys & girls, so leave the kids at home and grab your tickets for a filthy night out.”
And he adds: “With an adult panto you don’t need the excuse of having to take the kids when it’s really you that wants to go.
“There’s no nudity, there are certain words we don’t use, but it’s a chance to let your hair down and have a great night out.
“I did my first adult panto five years ago – this is the fourth because of Covid – and it’s just grown.
“It came about because at every kids’ panto there are some things you say that, when you rehearse it, you think it’s really quite rude even when it’s not meant to be.
“Behind closed doors, you forget your lines and drop a swear word, and it’s really funny. It was at that point when I thought, that needs to be done more often because everyone will find it hilarious.
“There are some scenes that we don’t script and that’s great fun too because you never know what’s going to happen. You can get two completely different shows which is great.
“And there’s no real age range, it’s aimed at 16-year-olds to 90-year-olds – but the older ones are the worst!”
He laughs: “Once we had four ladies come who were in their 80s and I was like, were they okay? Only to be told, oh yeah, they came for the Chippendales last week!”
Liam reckons adult panto is like a Carry On film on stage: “It’s a chance to forget all the rubbish that’s going off outside, and look forward to having to take Nurofen and Paracetamol when you get home from laughing your heads off and having a minute-to-minute belly laugh.”
And though he started as a serious actor, he says: “If I can make someone smile and laugh that makes my day.”