Tracy Beaker star Dani Harmer stars as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at The Ipswich Regent ahead of giving birth to her first baby
- Credit: BBC
Enchanted Entertainment bring their Easter pantomime to The Ipswich Regent on Tuesday, April 5 with pregnant Dani Harmer taking the lead role alongside Bobby Davro.
“Yeah, give birth,” Harmer laughs when, midway through our chat, I stupidly ask what she’s got planned after playing Dorothy in Enchanted Entertainment’s Easter pantomime The Wizard of Oz, writes Wayne Savage.
The Tracey Beaker and Strictly Come Dancing star, six months pregnant when I call, exclusively revealed to HELLO! magazine she and boyfriend Simon Brough were expecting their first child together earlier this year.
It crops up a bit during the show her co-star Bobby Davro - interviewed here - tells me later.
“We’re laughing because Dani’s tummy is getting bigger and bigger - she looks like a Weeble. We’re all giving her our chairs and sitting her down,” says the comedian and impressionist, who plays the brainless Scarecrow.
“It’s a family show but we do make reference to a little bit of a bump, something like ‘come on home there Dorothy, Aunty Em is baking fresh bread and I heard there’s a little bun in the oven’,” he laughs.
The very excited Harmer, who spends her downtime shopping and getting the new arrival’s nursery ready, doesn’t care. She told HELLO! she and Brough were over the moon at the prospect of becoming parents, describing it as an “amazing, clever thing to be going on inside my body”.
She doesn’t have to worry about picking the wrong wall colour paint.
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“It’s girl which is very exciting and exactly what I wanted. My little princess. I’m looking forward to meeting her, hopefully all this backache will be worth it,” she laughs.
The actress is doing fine, assuring me she’s taking it easy as much as she can, sitting down an awful lot when she’s not needed on stage.
“I’m kind of used to it, this is my job, so my body is used to it and stuff; it’s slightly harder obviously trying to grow a human being and do a show at the same time with baby brain as well. Weirdly I can still remember my lines, I can’t remember my own name sometime but I can remember how to play Dorothy so that’s good.”
Harmer admitted to the magazine she was nervous and was just taking each day as it comes, adding wedding plans are on hold for a little while. While she and Brough had joked about starting a family early on she didn’t want to get married just because they were; preferring to have their little one walk up the aisle with them later.
She does hope she and her daughter have the same bond she has with her mum.
“My mum’s one of my best friends and I can literally tell her anything and that’s the sort of relationship I’d like as well.”
Harmer’s lost count of how of many times she’s played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She likes the fact she’s quite feisty rather than the usual Disney princess type.
“There’s no love story, it’s just about her trying to find her way back home and find herself,” she says. “She’s the glue that holds the story together, really. She’s the one that drives it and it’s all about her.”
Spoken like a true parent, she feels there aren’t enough family shows so it’s really nice to be able to do something over Easter that all ages can enjoy. Being such a classic that everybody knows and loves adds to the fun.
“You can just bring your entire family, right up to grandparents... There’s something for everyone and we’re going to have a laugh and try to entertain you,” she says of the show. “It’s such a lovely story just with a slight modern panto twist to it.”
Harmer, looking forward to putting her feet up and getting on with being a mum until panto beckons at the end of the year, clearly loves what she does. But would she encourage her daughter to follow in her ruby slippered footsteps?
“She’s already been in Cinderella as well over Christmas, so yeah the baby will have been on stage a fair few times before she’s even born so we’ll see what happens. I don’t know, it’s so hard. It’s kind of whatever makes her happy really. I’d rather she got a proper job,” she laughs.
“Because this is hard work. You never really know what you’re doing from one minute to the next and you know I love having a bit of stability every now and again. Again it’s whatever makes her happy, if she’s good at it and that’s what she wants to do then I’ll support her 100%.”
Enchanted Entertainment’s Easter pantomime sees Dorothy and Toto picked up by a tornado and carried off to the magical Land of Oz. Once there, they make new friends in the shape of the Munchkins, a Scarecrow in need of a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart and a Cowardly Lion looking for courage. Following the Yellow Brick Road, they hope the wonderful Wizard of Oz will be able to help them before the Wicked Witch of the West captures them.
Packed with well-known pop songs, dance routines, laughs and lots of audience participation, The Wizard of Oz is at the Ipswich Regent at 2pm and 5.30pm, April 5.