Palace panto dame David loves this great theatrical tradition

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It’s time again for the latest in our 60 Seconds With features, turning the spotlight on cast members from Aladdin, the smash-hit pantomime at Mansfield Palace Theatre.

This week, it’s the turn of David Rumelle, who is playing Widow Twankey in the production.

Is this your first visit to Mansfield? (If not, when were you last here and with which show?)

I came to the Palace in 2002 with The Real Monty for David Graham productions playing the nasty council official Mr Bennett; the show involved a memorable drunken routine!

What is your usual daily routine and how do you think the Panto schedule will differ?

I’m always in the building two hours before a show because in addition to make up, dressing, wiring up for sound etc, I am responsible for my own costumes, repairs, and jewellery. I always want Dame to be pristine, so I make sure I am in very early before a show and am always checking if anything is looking lacklustre (down to the tinniest frill on a frock - have starch will travel!)

Tell us about the character you will be playing…

Widow Twankey is one of the great panto dames. She is a washerwoman in a Chinese laundry, struggling to make ends meet with two sons. She tries to maintain a sense of order but also wants to let the audience know she is a fun lady. She is easily wooed when approached by the likes of Abanazar!

What fun fact might people not know about you? (Such as your ‘party trick’ or unusual pet…)

I design all my own outfits for the show and supervise their making. I also write pantomimes, revues, sketches and song lyrics. I also rollerskate!

What would be your dream theatre role? Who would you love to work alongside?

I’ve already done it! I greatly admired the double act Hinge and Bracket and worked with them twice. Whilst I was company manager for Cinderella at Eastbourne, Dr Hinge fell ill with no understudy so I learned his script overnight ready for Boxing Day!

Who is the most famous person in your phone/following you on social media?

Just lovely people I’ve kept in touch with. Once you work with them, they cease to be ‘famous’ and are just good friends and colleagues.

What is your guilty pleasure? (For example, a cheesy song, unhealthy food, etc)

Old fashioned musicals starring Noel Coward and Ivor Novello - they don’t write them like that any more!

Tell us your best joke? (Or give an example of a prank you have played on someone…)

Come and see the show!

Where will you be spending Christmas Day this year? Who with?

In my digs on my own which doesn’t worry me. My partner and I came to terms with being away from each other at Christmas years ago and we both accept that it is work. I love being very quiet on Christmas Day to rest my voice. I’m planning a hot bath, smoked salmon and Bucks Fizz in front of the TV.

What are you most looking forward to about Panto/Christmas/spending time in Mansfield?

I’m overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone at Mansfield Palace Theatre and the rest of the Aladdin cast, Panto is such a labour of love. I’m looking forward to exploring the local area whilst I’m gere. I love Nottingham and have enjoyed playing the Theatre Royal twice in the past.

What is your message to anyone who hasn’t bought tickets to Aladdin yet?!

Please join us! I was a fool when I was a kid and had the chance to see some of the great panto dames (Terry Scott, Jack Tripp, Arthur Askey, Billy Dainty, John Inman) but never went. Boy do I regret it! Pantomime is a great tradition that will never die so come and be a part of it with us!

The theatre is urging customers who still wish to book for Aladdin to book as soon as they can!

Tickets are priced at £14.86 full, £13.84 concessions and £51.25 for a family of four (including a 2.5 per cent booking fee.) To book tickets please call the Box Office on 01623 633133 or book online by visiting