Despite being almost 40 Denise continued to play the title role of Snow White well into the 1990s. Denise has always enjoyed wearing the fabulous gowns that Pantomime stars wear, but it came as a shock to her that she was asked to play the Wicked Queen for the first time in the 90s, commenting 'What shocked me was the boos - I don't think that a singer is ever prepared for that. Singers are used to receiving applause and cheers, hopefully! To be booed as soon as you walk on stage was something that I hadn't prepared for. Some singers don't mind at all, but I am a sensitive person by nature and I took it to heart to start with. Once I had adjusted to that I was ok because, of course, the best lines are those that the Wicked Queen delivers. I worked on my cackle and how to get the balance that was evil enough, but at the same time funny enough to laugh at. The first time I played the part some achool children met the cast after a show and they didn't want to me meet me because they thought that was how evil I really was. It really upset me and I had to make sure they knew I was not at all like her.
In all Pantomime there has to be good and bad and the end result has to show that good conquers evil. So even the Wicked Queen gets to see the error of her ways and turns good. Performances aside, the negative to Pantomime has to be that often, the stars are far away from their home town. Denise acknowledges that Panto is lucrative for performers and therefore hard to turn down. 'I've done enough to know the downside. Usually the company and crew get on very well very quickly. Turning themselves into a surrogate family. The younger ones often spend Christmas day with each other as it is often not practical to get home and back in time for the Boxing Day performmance. I pack everything but the kitchen sink to make me feel more at home. Christmas trees, lights, DVD player - you name it I hae it. I am fortunate that my partner, Tom is happy to take me home to be with the family on Christmas Day. That has meant driving after the last show on Christmas Eve for hours, just to be there for the meal and gifts. Then driving home on Christmas Day. I do get homesick, it's the nature of the game. Panto is really hard work physcally, and as I have got older I felt the family pull even stronger. That is one of the reasons I started to resist doing some of the really far away ones."
Click on a poster from a year - the pop up window will have full details of the corresponding year's Pantomime.
1996 - SNOW WHITE - NORWICH - THEATRE ROYAL