Comic actor Liam Mellor is no stranger to the stage, having appeared in countless theatre productions up and down the country.
In December 2017, Liam Mellor will be filling the shoes of Muddles in Darlington Hippodrome’s Christmas pantomime, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. What’s On Darlington caught up with the comic actor to talk all-things pantomime and karaoke-obsessed in-laws.
You’re fairly local being from Redcar, so I imagine you’ve been to Darlington quite a few times?
Yeah, well I’ve actually only seen two shows at Darlington. I came to watch Sleeping Beauty a few years ago and I came to watch the tour of “Boogie Nights” because I’d just finished panto with Chico and he was in the tour of “Boogie Nights” so I came to watch him in that.
It’s always been a little bit out of my range because there’s a couple of theatres around but I know this is the biggest and the best and it’s going to be even bigger now with the new theatre for the area so I’m looking forward to it.
This isn’t the first time you’ve done pantomime is it? What’s your favourite thing about panto?
My favourite thing about pantomime is that I get to be a kid. At home with family and stuff like that, I have to be an adult and I have to be a dad, I have to be proper in everything I do. I come to pantomime, I don’t. I get to play the child. I get to be a kid again, which is the fun for me.
You’re playing Muddles in this year’s pantomime. How would you say you’re similar to your character?
Because I’m stupid in all honesty. This is definite typecasting. The jokes and stuff that I do, I like it to be for kids and adults. What comes out of my mouth is pure innocence and how anyone takes it is up to them and up to their minds. I like to play it straight, keep it as innocent as possible and see what happens from there.
Oh yeah, he’s definitely cheeky. I have a voice when I do pantomime and that’s why people go “is he a kid? What age is he?” I don’t put an age range on anything I do. It’s just what comes out, comes out.
Like we were saying, the Darlington Hippodrome is the big theatre in the area. What does it mean to you to be performing at such an extraordinary venue at an iconic time for the venue itself?
It’s great. The last time I got to do anything like this was Swansea Grand for Qdos Entertainment, a 100 date pantomime at their theatre. When I got asked to come here for the new theatre here I was over the moon, especially with it being so local to me as well. It’s nice and it’s nice to be asked to do certain things like this. Hopefully it means I’m doing my job good and that I’ll be doing my job even better while I’m here.
I imagine you’ll have lots of family and friends coming down to see you. Do you get nervous about that?
No, I don’t now. I get a bit of nerves before I go on. I have a minute where I just sort myself out and sit back and listen and then I go and do it. This year will be the first time that my in-laws and that side of the family will see me because I’ve been in Swansea, I’ve been in Liverpool, I’ve been in St Helen’s. It’s a bit far for them to travel over Christmas, so this is my first time that they are going to be able to come.
That’ll be nice. Nice little family day out seeing you make a prat of yourself on stage.
They’re a big karaoke family. I hate karaoke.
You won’t be singing much in this panto then?
Ask the producer. I asked him what he thought of my singing and he didn’t answer to me.
You won’t be going on “The X Factor” this year then?
No, not this year.
You’re working along a solid cast (Lee Ryan, Zoe Birkett, Patrick Monahan). What do you think of them? Do you get on well?
It’s an amazing cast and it’s a cast that has been picked very well to work together. Me and Eric worked together a few years ago at Liverpool Empire in “Dick Whittington” playing mother and son, so I know how Eric works and I know how we are able to bounce off each other and work with that relationship which is great.
It’s also nice to work with new people as well. I’ve never done a show with another comic in like Patrick, so it’s going to be quite fun to do that. I know what Patrick’s humour is like and stuff like that from what I’ve seen him do. There’s two different types of humour which is good because then there’s a little bit of variation.
Reaching a broader audience.
Exactly, yeah. Patrick is from Middlesbrough originally so he knows the area and the humour as well. It’ll be nice to work with him.
Also, for me to pick up some tips. Every time you work with someone new, you pick up things and you’ve got to do things like that. You’re learning every day and it’s good to work with an all-star cast which is fantastic.
Finally, why should people go see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs this Christmas?
Because it’ll be #cracking, which is my catchphrase. If anyone asks me why, it’s always because it’s #cracking.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Saturday, December 9th, 2017 until Sunday, January 14th, 2018. Tickets can be purchased from the box office on 01325 405405 or by visiting the Darlington Hippodrome website.