So what happened to the usual Baron in Cinderella, the pantomime in Worthing this Christmas? Where is he?
Don’t bother looking for him.
Nicole Faraday, who plays the Evil Step-Mother in the show, has to admit that she suspects her character has probably murdered him.
A specialist in some of our nastiest stage and screen characters, Nicole wouldn’t put anything past the step-mum she’s offering us in Worthing.
Nicole, best known for her portrayal of Snowball Merriman in two series of ITV’s t television series Bad Girls and as man-eater Veronica in ITV’s Emmerdale, knows what’s going on.
“In my mind the Evil Step-Mother bumped her husband off. I think she married the Baron for his money and had a horrible shock. I think she murdered him for his money, probably poisoned him, and then discovered he didn’t have any money and so she finds herself stuck in this house with this awful step-daughter that she hates because the step-daughter is so sweet and nice and beautiful.”
So Nicole’s got it all worked out?
“I think you have got to embody your character,” Nicole laughs. “You have got to try to understand them. You have got to slightly justify them!”
And Nicole should know. She has played a string of monsters in her time. One of the rare exceptions was Eva Cassidy, a role she made her own.
“It was pretty emotionally exhausting to sing 28 of her songs and then die of cancer every night! It was tough, but I loved it. If I ever had the chance to do it again, then I would love to.”
Otherwise the baddies have predominated, perhaps most notably “the evil murdering druggie ex-porn star” in Bad Girls. She’s even played an evil doctor, Dr Heather Lincoln in BBC’s Casualty.
“My job was to come in and cause lots of trouble and sleep with the patients and sleep with the doctors.”
Nicole admits it’s a specialty, playing the larger-than-life over-the-top villains “In Emmerdale, I played a bit of a baddie as well.”
And now comes her 15th professional panto – as a baddie: “I was Lotus Blossom in Aladdin when I was 12. I don’t know what went wrong! But I love playing the baddies. You get some great belting songs to sing.
“I have played the Wicked Queen in Snow White eight times. She is the archetypal baddie. She wants Snow White’s heart cut out. She has got this incredible vanity and murderous thoughts.”
In Sleeping Beauty, Nicole was the one who cursed Beauty to death – only to be thwarted by a good fairy who managed to commute it to a sleeping sentence.
So maybe in that context, the Evil Step-Mother isn’t quite so bad. Or maybe she’s every bid as bad. Nicole isn’t going to miss out on the chance to pump up the villainy: “The Evil Step-Mother is quite ruthless. She is stuck with this step-daughter that she doesn’t want and she has got her own two daughters… and I am sure she murdered her husband!”
Nicole’s theatre credits include: Croaker in Wait Until Dark; Annabelle/Pamela/Margaret in 39 Steps; Sonia in Godspell; Beverley in Abigail’s Party; Lioness in A Streak of Pride; Ginny in Relatively Speaking; Daria in The Game’s Afoot for Swanage Rep; two UK tours of Isle of Woman; three UK number one tours as Eva Cassidy in Over The Rainbow; and Susan in Year 10.