Nothing attracts like a dame, as popular joker, Richard J Fletcher gets ready to fill the high heels of Oldham Coliseum’s Fine Time Fontayne.
After leading 11 Christmas shows at Oldham Coliseum, Fine Time Fontayne is hanging up his outrageous wigs and extravagant frocks for the last time.
Nothing attracts like a dame, and after such a long run in the role, Fine Time has become a north west Christmas favourite. But, for those familiar with the venue’s family tradition, rest assured the fun continues in good hands. Fine Time is passing the coveted role of Dame to his long-time comedy co-star, Richard J Fletcher. He’s also staying on as the pantomime’s co-writer, working on the script for Jack and the Beanstalk with Director of the pantomime and Acting Artistic Director of the Coliseum, Chris Lawson.
“To be able to hand over to someone that I admire and trust is making it easier for me to hang up my padding – top and bottom,” says Fine Time. “I know that I’m leaving the Coliseum in very safe hands. With a long tradition dating back to Kenneth Alan Taylor and subsequent Dames no one has ever dropped the ball and I think that Richard – being a former member of Manchester City’s Youth Squad – will kick the ball even higher. It’s like my son has become the daughter I never had.”
Fine Time leaves the role on a high and has no doubt got more high-jinx in store for Richard, who joined Oldham’s panto at the same time and has been his trusty side-kick in the messy slap-stick scenes for over a decade.
“It’s an honour to be asked to play the Dame – it’s as if Buttons is graduating! It’s a big role to fill but I’ve got a good few months to practise walking in heels and dancing in dresses,” says Richard. “Being an Oldhamer, the Coliseum panto was a big part of my childhood, I couldn’t imagine spending Christmas anywhere else and I’m excited to see everyone again next year.”
Fine Time and Richard are currently starring in Cinderella, as Pumpy Squeezepocket, one of the Ugly Sisters, and Buttons, which runs until 12 January 2019.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs from Saturday 16 November 2019 – Saturday 11 January 2020 at Oldham Coliseum Theatre. See website for details.
Read our interview with Fine Time Fontayne and Sue Devaney.
Read our review of Cinderella at Oldham Coliseum.