An instantly recognisable face to many from TV hits such as Scotch and Wry, Dr Who, Still Game or as Balamory’s bus driver Edie McCredie, Juliet Cadzow returns to pantomime at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre as wicked queen Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty. She sat down with The Reviews Hub’s Fraser MacDonald to talk Stanley Baxter, River City and what else she wants to tick off her wish list.
Cadzow last played the part of Carabosse at the King’s in 2005 and is keen to return to the role with her old panto chum Elaine C Smith, who she knows Glasgow audiences will love to see back after a 13 year hiatus. Her panto career started at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh under the watchful eye of Stanley Baxter, a Scottish comedy legend and pantomime dame famed for his strive for perfection. “Stanley Baxter was very old school and so regimented – it all had to be done by the book – but he was such a performer. I learned all I needed to know about pantomime from him”.
On her preference of television work or live theatre, there is no hesitation in her answer. “Oh, it’s theatre. You have that live feeling and the audience really dictate how a show goes. We have to play to them in that moment and adapt our performance every night. The energy that we have on opening night is always a good boost to start the run off!”
Despite countless live shows in her expansive career, she still admits to feeling the pre-show jitters just before the curtain rises. However, with so many performances behind her, Cadzow’s secret is to know the mechanics of the show, to be one step ahead of the game. Thinking on her feet doesn’t just apply to panto season, however – oh, no it doesn’t! As a regular on BBC Scotland’s long running soap River City, Cadzow finds there are similarities between panto-land and soap-land. “The atmospheres may be totally different, but you always have to be thinking of what’s coming next – it’s all consuming. The filming schedule on River City can be long and with pantomime, it feels like you never stop!”
Treading the boards at the King’s brings back many memories for Cadzow, which stretch right back to seeing big names like Marlene Dietrich and Laurence Olivier on the famous stage. Her reverence for the audience is clear and the proximity of the audience at this particular venue is a bonus.
With a hugely successful career already under her belt, Cadzow could easily be picked out for any one of the many roles she has played over the years, but is acutely aware that one role in particular will be in the minds of her panto audiences. She appears genuinely honoured that Edie McCredie, the school bus driver in hit CBBC programme Balamory has stayed with people for so long. “It’s really quite nice that there are so many out there that remember me from when they were young and have gone through a period of their lives with me – and it’s great to meet them at the stage door afterwards too”.
The future looks bright for the upcoming year too. Having regrettably turned down a stint in the West End in Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap due to other commitments, she also hopes that her time at River City is not at an end just yet. But is there anything still to tick off the wish list? “I would love to do something that will take me away; I worked with a company doing an Irish play – in Italian – in Rome which was a real challenge. So more challenges, I hope”.
Juliet Cadzow appears in Sleeping Beauty at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow from 2 December 2017 until 7 January 2018