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avatarAlso in the good corner is Chris Clarkson's debutant dame, Tilly Trott, in a convincing transition after 10 panto years as a prince and comic turn. Clarkson has bags of stage authority, a strong voice and a sense of self-deprecation, working humourously and harmoniously with (comic) Stedman.  The medley of pop hits, this time topped off by dame Clarkson's It's Raining Men, is a camp moment to rival The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

Jack & the Beanstalk - Harrogate 2012/13
The York Press
avatarA fun, energetic evening full of the simplest pleasures the theatre has to offer.  Clarkson's dame is relatively restrained - and the script does not resort to cheap man-in-a-frock innuendo - which is pleasing to see and means that the sense of all-round family fun is maintained.

Jack & the Beanstalk - Harrogate 2012/13
British Theatre Guide
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Chris Clarkson is an engaging Potty Pierre, suitably dim-witted as well as likeable




Beauty & the Beast - Stevenage 2011/12
Anne Morley-Priestman, WhatsOnStage.com
avatarPotty Pierre, expertly played by Chris Clarkson, and his spotty pot were loved by the children in the audience as was the ever popular Paul Laidlaw as Dame Derriere. The duo had the audience cheering, singing and at one point wiggling away.

Beauty & the Beast - Stevenage 2011/12
Damion Roberts, Hertfordshire Life
avatarHolding everything together though is returning duo Paul Laidlaw and Chris Clarkson, whose mother and son roles as Dame Derriere and Potty Pierre leave the audience 'oui oui-ing' in the aisles.

Beauty & the Beast - Stevenage 2011/12
Nick Gill, The Comet
avatarHerbie the Huntsman is well characterised by the genuinely funny Chris Clarkson

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs - Stevenage 2010/11
Jim Kennedy, The Stage
avatarIn Chris Clarkson they have a Herbie the Huntsman that the audience won't fail to befriend, as well as a decent cricketer from the way he hits snowballs into the crowd.

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs - Stevenage 2010/11
Nick Gill, Herts 24
avatar...ably abetted by the bundle of energy that was Chris Clarkson

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs - Stevenage 2010/11
Clare Bourke, Hertfordshire Life
avatarI admire the skill of the young actor in the fusion razor advert. It takes a special gift to fake that much enthusiasm over shaving

Gillette TV Commercial 2011
@wossy (Jonathan Ross) on Twitter
avatarThis 1960's-set musical features slick acting, strong singing and infectious choreography from every member of the company.

Soul Traders - Edinburgh Festival 2008
The Scotsman
avatar...split-second timing from a pair of reformed bankers...

Soul Traders - Edinburgh Festival 2008
The Stage
avatar...ably assisted by Dandini (Chris Clarkson), who reminded me of Michael Crawford in Some Mothers Do 'ave 'em.

Cinderella - Wyvern Theatre 2008/9
Newbury Weekly News
avatar...Chris Clarkson makes his mark as Dandini...

Cinderella – The Lowry 2005
The Stage
avatar...including the lead Chris Clarkson's impressive portrayal of McGill...

The Machine Gunners - Edinburgh Festival 1997
The Scotsman
avatarChris Clarkson interestingly plays Prince Charming as more of a bumbling fop than a sex symbol...

Cinderella - Colne 2006
The Stage
avatar...there is a rather good Malvolio (Clarkson)...

Twelfth Night - Edinburgh Festival 1996
The Scotsman
avatar...Without a doubt, this is the Castle's most outstanding seasonal offering for several years ... Chris Clarkson - our friendly Securidog and even more incredibly and quite brilliantly, Wacker the road machine - gives two gems of performances...

The Ideal Gnome Expedition - Wellingborough 2002
The Stage
avatarIn these days of impersonal technological wizardry there is something wonderful about the delights of raw unprocessed theatre... actors taking risks in real time with a live audience. There is nothing like it in the cultural field. At the most basic level even the field itself can be real. It was last week when Oddsocks performed Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew against the dramatic backdrop of Dilston Castle.

Oddsocks have been touring now for 12 years or more. They've performed 17 plays by Shakespeare and have become firm favourites in Tynedale. One of the events that now presages Christmas is an indoor performance at the Queen's Hall - this year Twelfth Night for five nights.

But for me and others, the real thrill in the summer in the open air production which recaptures some of the essence of how Shakespeare's plays were first performed - fast, furious and full of interaction with the audience and cross banter.

That love and loyalty were much tested last week. Not only did the performance we booked clash with an important World Cup game, but the weather went wild. Strong gusts of wind, scudding clouds and the sort of persistent drizzle that is wetter and more insidious than any other kind. But along went aficionados of the company, cluttered with chairs, champagne bottles and picnics. We met friends not seen elsewhere in the year. We were predisposed to enjoy ourselves before even the lights go on and the action begins.

So how was the play. Astonishingly brilliant. One distinguished professor insisted that its theme and language was "offensive to any civilised man, reading in his library", forgetting that it was written not to be read but to be experienced in the theatre, where it consistently works. In recent time feminists have complained about the treatment of Katherine and especially at what they consider to be her final submission speech. But we the audience know that there has occurred an affirmation of mutual love and that the definitions of who is the tamer, who the tamed are now irrelevant.

In this production, the performance by Susie Riddell as Kate made this subtlety very clear. It was for all the apparent clowning, one of the best interpretations of the role I have seen in many years of theatre going. It was beautifully articulated and at times very moving.

She was well supported by an Oddsocks veteran Robert Laughlin as Petruchio. He has a lugubrious face whose meaning you can read at a distance. It would have been easy for him to dominate the stage, but generously he made space for his fellow actors. And they seized their opportunities. Kee Ramsorrun, all innocent naughtiness, is a firm favourite with audiences. Chris Clarkson played assorted suitors and servants with aplomb. Newcomer, Clara Darcy, made an impressively sharp debut as Bianca. I was struck too by the charm of Michael Lambourne who as Baptista, Grumio and others kept the narrative moving with great speed.

The sextet is, I think, the best balanced cast to be assembled by Oddsocks. As well as the sheer physicality of manoeuvring set and wagons, they spoke the cleverly adapted text with an intelligence, clarity, and audibility greater than that I've recently experienced at performances by the RSC and Northern Broadsides.

These actors deserve to go further in the most vulnerable of professions.

Presently there seems to be no working actor in the land who does not have to earn a crust making company training videos or commercials, playing role model games with disinterested middle managers or ticking boxes for SATs tests. Even Oddsocks are at the corporate game but in the end it's not meaningful. There's no art in it. Just cash to balance the real life of being thespian rogues and vagabonds. If we don't choose and use young actors we will lose them.

The greater part of the solution lies in the hands of audiences. Get out more to local theatres like the Queen's Hall and support small touring companies. As Petruchio says at the end of his play: "Is not this well? Better once than never, for never too late."

The Taming of the Shrew - UK Tour 2006
Hexham Courant
avatarChris Clarkson is an engaging Dame, dry and droll, less grotesque than many.

Sleeping Beauty - Harrogate 2013/14
Ron Simpson, WhatsOnStage.com
avatarChris Clarkson is back as the Dame for a second year, having made a great impression in last year's show Jack and the Beanstalk.  Clarkson could maybe do with a bit more to do, because he's far too good to stand idle - though he does sport a parade of extraordinary costumes-cum-disguises.

Sleeping Beauty - Harrogate 2013/14
Andy Murray, Northern Soul
avatarChristmas isn’t Christmas without a good old fashioned pantomime. The Roses was packed for this particular festive outing with young and old.

First we meet Gary Le Bold (Chris Clarkson) who is brilliant as the arrogant Frenchman who believes he is the most handsome man in France.

Beauty & the Beast - The Roses, Tewkesbury 2014/15
Helen Rawlings, Gloucestershire Echo
avatar“A fresh approach provides a crowd-pleasing start to a new season..... The casting is spot on.” -  How The Other Half Loves (Alan Ayckbourn)

"Deftly performed, the cast keep energy levels high.  Chris Clarkson is almost unrecognisable from earlier in the season.”  -  Out of Order (Ray Cooney)

Suffolk Summer Theatre - 2015 Season
The Stage