Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Nothing like Being a Dame; He Dons a Dress and Make-Up to Play the Ugly Sister Everyone Loves to Hate. LIZ LAMB Catches Up with Panto Veteran Maxie Peters to Discover What It Takes to Be a Pantomime Dame Feature

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Nothing like Being a Dame; He Dons a Dress and Make-Up to Play the Ugly Sister Everyone Loves to Hate. LIZ LAMB Catches Up with Panto Veteran Maxie Peters to Discover What It Takes to Be a Pantomime Dame Feature

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ LAMB

ATOWERING wig of dark hair perches precariously on Maxie Peters' head. His rugged face is plastered with lashings of red lipstick and rouge and he is wearing an ankle-skimming dress that houses a pair of voluminous bosoms any woman would be proud of.

In under half an hour the comedian is transformed from a 58-year-old grandad-of-two into Sharon, the Ugly Sister everyone loves to hate.

"Our Shaz," laughs Maxie, who is appearing in Cinderella at The Journal Tyne Theatre.

"It's a part I have done a few times and I know her well. She's a psychopath.

"It's one of the best parts in panto. You can be a baddie and funny at the same time, which is cracking."

As a pantomime veteran with more than 20 years experience, Maxie has perfected his look with skill.

It takes him just 15 minutes to put on his face and only a matter of minutes to step into his costume.

"I do my own make-up. I'm not an advert for Elizabeth Arden," he laughs.

"If I want to be ugly I tend to go harsher around the eyes but if you are doing a matronly part like Aunt Bessie it's more about rosy cheeks."

He has been a panto star for two decades but has worked in the entertainment industry for longer.

The star is one half of Maxie and Mitch, the comedy duo who set up the Newcastle Pantomime Company with fellow comedian Brendan Healy, to save the theatre's Christmas show from extinction.

Mitch is Billy Mitchell, a comedian and musician and a lifelong friend of Maxie.

They regularly pair up for panto and theatre shows and have toured the world together for years.

Maxie, of Hebburn, says: "We have been together as a double act since 1980.

"I was in a group on the other side of the river and Mitch used to be in a band and we knew each other through the folk world.

"It was a little bit incestuous and everyone knew each other. Mitch started playing with us. I was running a folk club and the duo started from there.

"Music was the thing at the time but we'd tell jokes and we just became quite successful. From there we progressed into doing cabaret."

Surprisingly, the dad-of-four never wanted to work in the entertainment industry and as a youngster he dreamed of being a footballer. …

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