Dame Delia returns to Kenneth More Panto-land in Ilford
PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 December 2014
Ladies, lock up your sons this Christmas as Dame Delia has returned to the Kenneth More Theatre for the panto season.
A four year hiatus has seen the Ilford legend travel the world and the annual festive shows noticeably lacking her boisterous presence.
But “probably the best dame in London” has finally returned to tread the boards of the Oakfield Road theatre in it’s 40th anniversary panto production.
“As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz says – there’s no place like home,” Delia explained.
“I missed my friends and colleagues in Ilford so I knew it was time to come back.
“I also missed a good Indian and a decent pint.”
This year she shall be taking to the stage in the theatre’s production of Dick Whittington and the Pirate Treasure which is being directed by her old friend and biggest fan, Steven Day.
He said: “She’s absolutely brilliant and we are so pleased she managed to come back this year and fit us into her busy schedule.
“I think she came back from somewhere on the other side of the world just before rehearsals started.”
The former Recorder personality of the year 1998 was an institution in the pantomimes at the Kenneth More for almost a decade before being snapped up and called away by fame and fortune.
It was hard for her to depart her beloved home town but she knew it was time to go when she had dated all the firemen.
“Oh I do love them,” she gushed. “They put their lives on the line and they have such big hands.”
It was time to try something new and after years of entertaining the Kenneth More crowds it was the perfect opportunity for Delia to travel the world.
“I have worked in over 35 countries in the last 10 years from Australia to Mongolia on many different productions.
“I sound like Miss World,” she said.
With a career to rival Meryl Streep, Delia has wowed audiences from all over Redbridge with her hilarious performances and colourful costumes and she hopes this panto season will be no different.
But her heart always pined for Ilford so when Steven asked her to return she snapped up the opportunity.
An intense rehearsal process started on Monday ready for the opening night on next week.
From then on Delia and her co-stars (or supporting acts, if you ask her) will take on two performances a day until January 17.
“If I survive all that I am going to need a holiday,” Delia explained.
“But I am most excited for the judo, karate, football and rugby clubs that always bring a party to the panto – more big men!”
Dick Whittington and the Pirate Treasure opens on Thursday Dec 11.
Tickets start at £12 for concessions and £15 for adults with special group discounts available.
Call 020 8553 4466 for booking and information.
You can also have the chance to win a VIP package to see the pantomime in our Press Gang special competition – turn to page 25 for more information.
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