‘I’d love to play the baddie’, says panto star

Almost that time of year again? Oh yes it is! Christmas will be here before we know it, so with panto season only weeks away we decided to give the Palace Theatre’s larger than life dame Sarah the Cook, aka Fraser Boyle, a grilling with this quick question and answer session.


Fraser is no stranger to the Palace Theatre stage, having received rave reviews as the dame in last year’s panto Beauty and the Beast, which he described as ‘a fantastic experience’.


He added: “Everyone was so professional and good humoured. We had some laughs backstage! Plus the audiences at Kilmarnock are a riot - you never know what you're going to get! That makes pantomime for me, the fabulous audience. The Kilmarnock lot are my kind of people!


“I'm so pleased and excited to be back and I'm looking forward to Christmas already."


When did you first perform?

“I come from quite a large extended family. Ever since I can remember, when the family all got together for a party, we’d each do a turn for each other. You’d would sing, play piano, dance or tell a joke when it was your turn.


“Those are some of my earliest memories performing. But the first time I was on an actual stage I was 5 years old and my line was “It be under your hat Jim Lad”. I was a pirate.”


When you were young, what did you want to be when you grow up?

“Believe it or not I wanted to be the Prime Minister! My sister reckons it was because I thought I’d get lots of cool handbags (it was the 1980s). Why couldn’t I have wanted a normal job?”


If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

“No one, they’d all read the script and turn the offer down! But I’d love to play Chic Murray in a remake of his life!”


What’s the last thing you do before the curtain goes up?

“Probably go to the toilet! I’m forever finding myself needing the loo just before I’m about to go on – we all drink so much water to keep our voices hydrated, especially during panto!” 


When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?

“Usually start chatting to someone about nonsense and try to instigate a carry on. Or go and find the coffee and biscuits.”


Do you have anything in common with the character you are playing?

“In some ways. Playing the dame you get to magnify all your worst qualities, like vanity and pettiness and generally behave like an obtuse buffoon!


“Equally you get to magnify some good qualities too like warmth and charm. That’s pretty much where the similarities end... a 6ft 2ins woman I am not.”


If you could be any other character in the show, who would it be?

“Oh that’s a tough one. I think I’d love to play the baddie, it seems like a fun experience. All those boos! I’d also like to play the silly Billy but I think I’d be rubbish at it!”


What show would be your ideal one to appear in after this one?

“Game of Thrones. I could be a new dragon.”


If you could work with any actor (stage or screen) who would it be?

“For the sake of answering the question I’ll say Charlie Chaplin, but that’s an impossible question – there’s far too many greats!”


What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?

“Sitting round a large table with family and friends, lots and lots of food, some drinks, and lots of conversations and laughter.”


What’s the funniest or most nerve-wracking thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

“I forgot my lines! In my defence, the writer (who was also the director) kept changing the lines, even 2 hours before the show!


“I was on stage giving a monologue, completely dried… made up nonsense on the spot and I could see writer at the back of the auditorium pulling his hair out!


“Luckily I remembered and got back on track, but I did make up rubbish for three sentences or so!” 


What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to be an actor?

“Go for it!”


* Don’t miss Fraser Boyle in the hilarious swashbuckling panto Dick Whittington at The Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock, from Saturday, November 25 to Saturday, December 30. To book tickets, call the box office on 01563 554900 or visit eastayrshireleisure.com. This year’s panto has been kindly sponsored by Wilko, Stewart Travel, WG13 and West FM.