Clacton: Flying Jeff Brazier has high hopes for Peter Pan at Princes Theatre
- Credit: Archant
Starring in his first panto for years, TV presenter Jeff Brazier has added reason for making it a good one.
“My eldest boy goes to a performance academy and he’s really getting into his singing, dancing and acting. As much as I hope I’ll be a great role model for him on stage, some of the others who have been doing this a lot longer than I have will be able to show him a few of the old tricks. It’ll be great for him to see what happens in a big production like this in every other aspect as well.”
Flying around Clacton’s Princes Theatre as Peter Pan, he has both feet firmly on the ground when it comes to picking roles.
“I haven’t done a panto for a good six or seven years... I’m a single parent, I work where I can and sometimes the jobs that keep me out the house for weeks at a time are not really the ones I should be taking,” says Brazier, who has two sons - Bobby, 10 and Freddy, nine - with the late Jade Goody, when I caught up with him pre-rehearsals.
“When one is offered and it’s in Clacton, it’s so close and it’s a short run. This is a happy medium, plus I know the boys are really going to enjoy watching. I think they’re not far off an age where they might start getting embarrassed of me and what I’m doing, especially today - I’m wearing green tights. I think it’ll just amuse them at the moment whereas in a few years time they’ll be disgusted if I ever did such a thing in their company,” he laughs.
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Any single parent will tell you it’s not easy getting the work/home balance right.
“As a parent you know when you’re working too much or you’re not seeing enough of your children because you feel it in the pit of your stomach. Because it’s me whose bringing them up I can’t afford to have that feeling too often. I have to plan well in advance... I’ve been offered panto numerous occasions but this was the first one in a long time that I could agree to do because it sits in with my responsibilities.”
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He’s hoping as many people as possible take the second star to the right and straight on till they arrive at the Princes Theatre for JM Barrie’s story of the boy who never grew up.
“We did some promotion around a few schools in the area and they all absolutely loved it, jeering the pirates and I was coming in, chasing after them. Peter Pan is definitely one of the kids’ firm favourites which is great, you want to be doing a show everybody really wants to see and everyone enjoys.”
Judging from how excited the youngsters were, Brazier’s sure it’s going to be a hit.
“Children come to panto and expect to make a lot of noise; they wanna scream and shout, there to be goodies and baddies and in that aspect Peter Pan has everything. Any child is immediately going to be in the Lost Boys gang.”
Flying is something new though.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before... I will be hoisted up and I think I’m going to be singing when I’m flying so talk about being thrown in at the deep end, I hope the harness isn’t too tight,” he laughs.
Surely it’s not too much of a challenge for the former Dancing on Ice star?
“Usually, everything I do is as Jeff Brazier, presenting requires you to be very much yourself... Dancing on Ice was probably the last occasion where you’re actually playing a role.
“Going into the schools and playing along, the kids loved it; but I really enjoyed it as well because you get to let yourself go a little bit. I’ve got kids, I know how they work, what makes them laugh. To see the kids reactions was very reaffirming that I obviously haven’t lost my touch and any child who comes to watch Peter Pan is going to have a great time.”
Peter Pan runs to January 1.