In the strange world of theatre, a cast of actors are out in the heatwave in Sheffield city centre, sweating away in pantomime costumes.
The gathering takes place each year at this time, when the stars of the Lyceum’s popular Christmas show launch, which this year is Peter Pan.
As the show’s much-loved Dame Damian Williams said on Twitter: “Hottest day ever so maybe a bit of Xmas will cool us down”.
Damian at least looked a bit summery in a blue dress decorated with sailing boats and white DM boots adorned with sailor’s tattoo designs.
As usual, he was the wisecracking life and soul of the party.
This year he is starring alongside two former soap stars – Wendi Peters from Corrie and ex-EastEnder Shaun Williamson.
Children’s favourites in the cast are Gemma Hunt from Cbeebies show Swashbuckle, who plays Tiger Lily, and David Ribi of Channel 5’s Milkshake, who is Peter Pan.
The cast’s other featured roles are Jo Osmond from Doctor Who as Tinkerbell and Samantha Dorrance, from Disney Channel show Dance Along, as Wendy.
Shaun, who played Barry in the soap and was in Ricky Gervais sitcom Extras, takes on the role of Captain Hook for the third year running.
He said the entire cast, apart from Damian, were in the show in Canterbury last Christmas, so it was great to get back together again.
Shaun is also a big fan of panto. He said: “I genuinely love it. It’s unlike any other form of theatre. The nearest I got to it was when we did One Man Two Guvnors, which came to the Lyceum, and you break the fourth wall and speak to the audience like you do in panto.”
The actor will be soon be back on TV in Mister Winner on BBC1, starring Spencer Jones as Leslie Winner, a figure like Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do Ave Em.
Shaun plays Leslie’s girlfriend’s dad. He said: “There is going to be a stunt in each show in homage to Michael Crawford. In the pilot episode, he got in a shark tank.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a long time since I’ve been on BBC1.”
He’s also just been on the Big Narstie Show, hosted by the rapper, on Channel 4, quipping: “My agent said ‘Just do it, the 15 to 25-year-olds will know who you are again’.”
n Peter Pan is at the Lyceum from December 7 to January 6. Tickets: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or 0114 249 6000.