It’s Grin Up North for panto dame


BEFORE he became an actor Damian Williams hankered after becoming a stand-up comic – and now he has.

The Lyceum panto dame will be doing a stand-up turn at the Lyceum Theatre on Monday as part of the Grin Up North comedy festival, but it’s still acting. He is appearing in a one-man play, My Dog’s Got No Nose, about a former furniture salesman who is about to fulfill his comedy dream.

“He’s a man who has wanted to be a comic for 30 years and now he has his chance,” explains Williams. “The play takes place as he is about to do his first performance, with the first half taking place in his dressing room and in the second half he is performing but there is a massive twist to it.”

We share the character’s pre-show nerves as he talks about his life and experiences before going in front of the mic, confiding about his career, his marriage and unrequited love and things gets progressively darker as it goes on.

“It takes you through the emotions. One minute the audience is laughing the next some are crying,” he says. “It’s a great play to do as an actor because you get to do a bit of everything.”

But it has also allowed Williams to put himself in the position of a stand-up and indulge his talent for ad-lib and audience interaction. “Well, his stand-up is a bit old hat, so it’s not exactly the same thing,” he says.

“But yes, that’s what I wanted to do before I went down the route of being a comedy actor and I have never really had a go. I would still like to do it but it’s a question of finding an act that no one else has done. You need to find a niche and a different angle. It’s never too late, though, so who knows?”

Williams is the first actor to perform the play written by Ron Aldridge which has toured to various theatres around the country including last year at the Pomegranate, Chesterfield, where he is something of a regular. He has become a favourite with Sheffield audiences after appearing in the last three pantomimes at the Lyceum

“It’s nice that people will see what else I can do. Some people think that all I do is panto, going around in a frock, says the actor who this week is on tour in a production of Ray Cooney’s Not Now Darling, “dropping my trousers and slamming doors,” as he puts it.

And it won’t be long before his back in Sheffield to start rehearsals on Sleeping Beauty which opens at the Lyceum on December 8.