HE is back as the Guildford pantomime villain for the fifth year running – and nothing, it seems, can stop Kit Hesketh-Harvey terrifying the kids of Surrey.
Kit made his name as the singing half of cabaret duo Kit & the Widow, but young panto fans will know him better for his moustache-twirling and evil laugh in recent years.
This year he’s playing Dastardly Dick in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and says: “It’s a great role, the villain always has the most fun and is always on stage first and, of course, I love it if the children get carried out screaming!”
Kit says he keeps coming back to Guildford because he loves the theatre as well as the area, with which he has strong family links.
“This year is the Yvonne Arnaud’s 50th anniversary and I’m so old I remember my grandfather, who lived in Guildford, taking me down to see the theatre being built,” he recalls.
“I live in Norfolk but I have huge family connections with this part of the world. As well as my grandfather, my great aunt and uncle lived here, all my mother’s family were brought up here so the whole maternal line is from Surrey. My great, great grandfather was some kind of timber merchant in the area.”
He also says he’s loving working with ‘great friend’ Dillie Keane, who plays the Good Fairy, as well as returning to the theatre itself. He adds: “It’s simply the Yvonne Arnaud, it’s like a family here.
“Everyone who works there seems to stay the same, and the cast is usually very similar. We’ve got Peter Gordon and Jamie Brook again, which is great. It’s a bit like going back to boarding school.
“If you must spend Christmas away from home, working with people like this is the way to do it.”
Kit will get to spend one day at home in the coming weeks – Christmas Day itself.
“On Christmas Eve I’ll make a mad dash to Norfolk and then lie on the sofa being fanned all day before I head back for the Boxing Day performance.
“It’s my one day off so I’ll barely be able to move, I’ll probably be comatose most of the day. But I’ll soon be back to scare the little blighters in the audience!”
After his run in Jack and the Beanstalk (until January 3) Kit will return to the Yvonne Arnaud in Kit & McConnel: Over The Yardarm on January 28.