Keddy Sutton plans a fairy merry Christmas at Liverpool's Royal Court
She’s been an airline pilot in Scouse of the Rising Sun, a shepherd in the Scouse Nativity, and for the last two years she’s donned padding a big suit to play (the now ex) Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson in Scouse Snow White and Cinderella respectively.
Now Keddy Sutton is back on stage at the Royal Court for some more festive tomfoolery in The Scouse Sleeping Beauty, and this year she’s earned her fairy wings. Fairy Daffodil to be exact.
“I’m one of three Fairy Godmothers. They’re all named after the ferries,” she explains during a break from rehearsals. “It’s set in the kingdom of Poundland but then we have to save Ora from a curse and travel through a magic fairy portal into the land of the fairies…or is it?”
This year’s show, nominally penned by Kevin Fearon but fleshed out by the cast, reunites Sutton with fellow Royal Court regulars like Drew Schofield, Lindzi Germain, Michael Fletcher, Hayley Sheen and Jamie Clarke.
“You feel a bit naughty that you keep coming back,” she says. “But you know the Carry On team? I know we’re not them, but it feels like that sometimes, as though you’re part of this little family.”
Above: Keddy Sutton with Drew Schofield and Stephen Fletcher in The Liverpool Nativity. Top: As Joe Anderson in Scouse Snow White. Photos by Activate Digital
So if the Royal Court actors WERE the Carry On cast, who would she be?
Sutton struggles to come up with a suitable candidate, apart from suggesting she’d be “a really ditzy one”. Later she texts a picture of Esma Littman – the diminutive comedy actress who as Esma Cannon appeared as a series of dotty old dears in films like Carry On Constable and Carry on Cruising – saying “I love her”.
The theatre’s is often the first Liverpool Christmas show out of the trap, but this year it’s an even earlier start – on Bonfire Night – and runs for a record-busting two months and 10 days.
Last year the Court managed to put on a month of performances (using two teams of actors in case of Covid) before an un(seasonal) lockdown called time on festivities.
Read a round-up of Christmas shows in Liverpool City Region
Nine months earlier, Sutton had also been in the cast of Pete Price is Dead, which fared less well when the first Covid lockdown struck before they had even had press night.
“We all just went home didn’t we?” she recalls of the strange situation. “(being an actor) You don’t get any furlough do you, so you had to get your brain ticking quickly.
“My brother and my cousin work for this fantastic company called Happy Times, in Moreton, which works with adults with learning difficulties. My brother is a music therapist. I went in and met them and very kindly they gave me a part time job where I’d go in and film songs and stories with my brother for the clients.”
Above: Keddy was in Pete Price is Dead when the first lockdown was introduced. Photo by Jason Roberts
It was the first time she had worked professionally with her brother and she says: “It was really lovely to spend time with him and with the staff at Happy Times, they’re absolutely fantastic.”
During the pandemic she also reconnected with fellow actors she hadn’t seen for a long time, writing a sitcom with one of them which received a read through on Zoom.
“And then I wrote my own one-woman show called Tabard the Musical,” she reveals. “I thought, I’m going to get out all my 1980s impressions – Cilla and Cliff Richard and Babs Windsor – in this one-woman show. And the Unity let me rehearse it for nothing for a couple of days, with lights, which was so kind.”
One woman shows, sitcoms and days “sitting at the kitchen table eating biscuits” aside, she’s delighted to be back in harness (although not an actual flying harness) for Christmas at the Court.
“Stephen Fletcher is directing it and it’s brilliant because he knows what it’s like to be on either side," she says.
“He makes sure that we all play to our strengths and that everything makes him laugh – because he’s got a good sense of humour and he understands what it’s like from our end.”
The Scouse Sleeping Beauty is at Royal Court Liverpool from November 5 to January 15. More HERE