Is it a musical? Is it panto? Is it a musical about panto? Find out when you see OH YES I AM!, arriving at London’s King’s Head from 11-12 September 2022.
Few people would contest that a musical production needs to be set in a distinct and heightened world. The uniquely British world of pantomime is about as distinct and heightened as you can get – so why isn’t there a musical about panto? Well now there is, and it’s a heart-breaker.
OH YES I AM! began life in 2018 as the song ‘Heroes Of Christmas’, featuring an unforgettable panto dame remembering his late lover. The song went on to win Iris Theatre’s Xmas Factor competition, after which writers James Cleeve and Mike Stocks developed the concept into an achingly funny and touching show.
Hector Hanley wanted to be a world-famous actor. He didn’t want to be a panto dame. He didn’t want to fall in love with his irritatingly successful rival, Dicky. And he certainly didn’t want to finish up in an actors’ retirement home…
Hector Hanley (OBE) wants to cling on to his dignity by avoiding an upcoming dementia test and so he sends everyone on wild goose chases through his tumultuous life-long quest to be a celebrated star.
He’s helped by his deceased lover, Dicky – a much more successful rival actor whom Hector used to despise, until they fell in love when playing the Ugly Sisters together. With Dicky romping through Hector’s memories and seeming real once more, the latter is almost impossible to rein in.
Playing this irresponsible and irrepressible ex-panto dame is acclaimed tenor and actor Kevin West, who made his professional debut at the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company “an appropriately long time ago”. West has just finished performing as Beethoven in a crossover show with one of the UK’s finest ensembles, the Dante Quartet.
Meanwhile rising star Sam Denia, who recently played six characters in the much-lauded Murder For Two at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester, plays 15 characters in OH YES I AM!
Denia says: “It’s a nightmare” but he also has an excellent poker face so no one knows if he’s joking. These 15 characters swirl in and out of Hector’s vibrant past, disintegrating present and distinguished pantomime career.
The initial performances at the King’s Head Theatre will be followed by a week-long run in development at another venue in late November.
OH YES I AM! runs from 11-12 September 2022 at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, London N1 1QN, with evening performances at 5pm (Sunday) and 8.45pm (Monday). Ticket prices £12.50-£15. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!