Faithful pantomime goers at Eden Court might look at Elgin’s Ross Allan and say “I know you”.
That is what comes with walking with people through 10 years of pantomime at the Inverness theatre and giving them a “so familiar gleam”.
To make his 10-year-anniversary at Eden Court all the more special, actor Ross Allan is again playing a role in Sleeping Beauty where he made his debut.
In 2013, Ross played the baddie’s sidekick Gob in the Sleeping Beauty pantomime.
But this year, he is trying on the shoes of Hector the Jester.
Expect a lot of laughs
When describing his character, Ross said: “He is everyone’s friend and he really enjoys trying to make people laugh.”
While it is questionable as to whether his character succeeds, he said audiences should come prepared to be entertained.
He said: “To be honest the Dame costumes are worth the ticket price alone.
“Audiences can expect a lot of laughs and a show with a lot of heart performed by a fabulously talented group of performers.
“I can’t wait for audiences to see it. There is always something new.
“Everyone has been working very hard on it. The song and dance numbers are particularly great this year and we have an extremely talented cast who can do it all, singing, dancing and acting.”
He mysteriously added: “And there’s a brilliant surprise near the end, but
you’ll have to come and see it to find out.”
‘No two shows are the same’
The actor – who was brought up in Elgin – said he was the first in his family to go into the arts.
It all started in standard grade and higher drama after his teacher suggested he applied to take part in the summer festival course Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow in 1999.
After securing a spot, Ross then applied to study at Telford College aged 18 and went on to graduate with a BA in acting from Queen Margaret University College.
Since then, he has gone on to win The Stage Award for Best Ensemble at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004 for Fierce and was nominated at the CATS Awards for Best Show for Young People in 2009 for Rudolf with Andy Manley/Macrobert Theatre.
This year, Ross also joined Jane McCarry in performing a brand new children’s theatre production called Misty’s Magical Adventure written by the north-east panto king Alan McHugh.
When asked what he enjoys most, the Scottish actor said: “I really enjoy the live element of performance as it is always different. No two shows are ever the same.
“With panto I love the challenge of trying to entertain an audience where someone could be five-years-old or 85-years-old.
“I love the creative process, developing ideas, characters etc.”
Elgin and Inverness are still home
While he now calls Glasgow home, Ross said he always enjoys visiting Elgin.
“I have family and friends in Elgin so I’m always up and down the A9,” he added. “I love Elgin, it’s my hometown, I grew up there.
“And I love Morayshire, we’ve got great beaches and a great football team. Mon the City.”
And his love for home stretches to the beautiful city of Inverness which after a decade of hitting the stage for panto season, feels like “his second home”.
The Scottish actor has played many characters in the annual pantomimes at Eden Court such as Wishee Washee in Aladdin, Smee and Starkey in Peter Pan and the main man Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk.
This year he be playing alongside a talented cast of Laura Blair as Fairy Flutterby, Nicola Auld as baddy Carabosse, Ben McGarvey as Prince Callum and Tia Bobbi Henry as Princess Beauty.
Panto stalwart director Steven Wren will again be treading the boards as this year’s dame Nurse Netty.
Why does Ross Allan keep coming back for more?
And while Ross has been doing this for some time now, he said the excitement has not worn off.
“I’m just delighted to be asked back,” he said.
“I think all audiences are unique and wonderful but with Inverness and Highland audiences, they always seem to be very supportive and by the end of the show, it’s clear that a Highlands audience definitely knows how to enjoy themselves.
“One of the main reasons I keep coming back is because of the core creative team.
“Director Steven Wren, choreographer Claire Darcy and musical director Will Marshall have worked on every panto I’ve done here and they are now dear friends of mine.
“They do a tremendous amount of work throughout the year to get the panto up to the high standard that it is and they trust me to do a good job.”
Sleeping Beauty is at Eden Court from Wednesday December 6 to Sunday January 7. For tickets and information visit eden-court.co.uk or call 01463 234234