Sheffield Lyceum show Cinderella is pantomime first for star Evelyn Hoskins
Actress Evelyn Hoskins has never appeared in pantomime before –and she’s starting straight at the top in the title role of Cinderella at the Lyceum in Sheffield.
The theatre’s hit Christmas show this year also stars Lyceum favourite Damian Williams and Matt Daines as the ugly sisters and Strictly star dancer Joanne Clifton as the Fairy Godmother. CBBCs’ Mister Maker star Phil Gallagher makes a welcome return to the Lyceum to play Buttons.
Evelyn said audiences could expect quite a modern Cinderella: “She’s absolutely feisty. There are hints in the show as to her being brought into the 21st century. It’s traditionally such an ‘I want my prince’ story. There’s comment on that and she is self-aware.”
It’s also reflected in that fact that she gets to sing the huge hit This Is Me from The Greatest Showman.
“It’s my first panto. I’m really excited,” said Evelyn, who has appeared on TV as Shona Wark on Casualty and Holby City, and as shape-shifter Lucy in E4 comedy drama Misfits.
She also had a role in the recent ITV drama A Confession that starred Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton.
Speaking a few days before the show started this week, she said: “Once we get in front of an audience is when the fun really starts and I will learn all about it.”
Evelyn’s already learning about the wicked humour of Damian Williams that has made him such a firm favourite with Lyceum audiences over the past 12 years.
“He’s hilarious, he’s had all of us in stitches. I’ve got to be the serious, rooted character and to do scenes with him is near on impossible!
“Trying not to laugh is so hard. There have been times when I have slipped, for sure.”
She has enjoyed seeing Damian build a comedy partnership with Matt Daines: "They’re both great and work so well together and they are such fun to watch.
“They will be picking on some gentlemen in the audience – the one that doesn’t really want to be there and has been dragged along.”
This may be Evelyn’s first time performing in pantomime but watching it is a Hoskins family tradition, she said.
“I usually go with my family at Christmas. I’m from Somerset and Evolution, the same production company that produce the Lyceum pantos, do the one where I’m from.
“I know their work, which is lovely. I go with my mum which is a lot of fun.”
Pantomime performers give up most of their family Christmas celebrations to entertain other families.
Evelyn said: “What’s exciting for me is that I’ll be part of a lot of kids’ first experience of theatre, which is really important, especially at the moment with everything that is going on in the world.
“They get to go out for a couple of hours and do something a bit silly.”
Evelyn is an experienced musical theatre performer and this summer has starred in Cruel Intentions, the musical version of a 1990s film, at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Next year she is excited to be going into a show in the West End but can’t say much more than that about it at the moment.
Evelyn’s showbiz fairy godmother is clearly looking after her, though.
Cinderella is at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield until January 5. Box office: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk