The 2007-08 pantomime, Sinbad the Sailor, was his 29th at the Theatre Royal.
He has had TV roles in such shows as The New Statesman, Crocodile Shoes,Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Spender as well as steady theatre work. However, it is his role in the York pantomime that has won him the most acclaim.
Many pantomimes in recent years have relied heavily on celebrity guest stars (often soap stars or comedians attempting to revive a flagging career) and risque humour. Kaler's pantos reject this ("I want everyone to laugh at the same joke," he says) and hark back to a more traditional form of pantomime. Instead of guest stars, a regular cast of actors has been assembled who return (nearly) every year:
While in some ways a 'traditional' pantomime, the York production is in some ways very up-to-date, and Kaler has been credited with reviving and reinventing the genre. While nominally based around the established panto stories such as Cinderella, the plots are often almost non-existent, and Kaler's ad-libbing has been known to hold scenes up for several minutes.
Full use is made of modern technology. There is usually a pre-recorded video sequence that complements the action in some way. In The Lad Aladdin (2006) it took the form of a prologue featuring Jimmy Nail as a fortune teller; in Mother Goose (2004) there was a high speed chase around York; for Jack and the Beanstalk (2003) it employed the use of 3D glasses while in Dick Whittington (2001) it was a dream sequence. There is also generally a brief segment featuring UV light and puppets.
Other running themes include:
|Year||Panto||Dame (Kaler)||Dame's son (Barrass)||Villain (Leonard)||Principal Boy||Principal Girl||Notes|
|2008-09 (announced)||Dick Turpin||Dame Betty Turpin||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||This will be Berwick's 30th Panto and Leonard's 21st!|
|2007-08 Review||Sinbad the Sailor||Nelli Fatardo||Binbag||Jack Warlock||Vincent Gray (Sinbad)||Julie-Anna Castro (Donna Kebab)||Suzy Cooper did not appear this year as she had just given birth to a baby boy.|
|2006-07 Review||Cinderella||Thelma||Louise*||Baron Stonebroke / Baroness Von Pratt||Anne Marie Lawton (Prince Charming)||Suzy Cooper (Cinderella)||*Barrass played the dame's sister not usual son role in his 21st York Pantomime.|
|2005-06 Review||The Lad Aladdin||Widow Twankey||Wishee Washee||Abanazar||Suzy Cooper (Aladdin)||Elianne Byrne (Princess Su Doku)|
|2004-05||Sleeping Beauty||The Queen Vic||Prince Albert*||Evil Edna||Lucy Hunter-James (Watson)||Suzy Cooper (Beauty)||*Barrass played the dame's husband rather than his usual role as son.|
|2003-04||Mother Goose's Silver Jubilee||Mother Goose||Jack||D-Man||Joanne Heywood (Squire Knavesmire)||Suzy Cooper (Kelly)||Kaler's 25th York pantomime|
|2002-03||Babbies in the Wood||Ariadne Oddbod||Noddy Oddbod||Sheriff of Rottingham||Joanne Heywood (Robin Hood)||Suzy Cooper (Marian Oddbod)|
|2001-02||Jack & the Beanstalk||Fanny Shufflebottom||Willy Shufflebottom||Egostein||Joanne Heywood (Jack Shufflebottom)||Suzy Cooper (Jill)|
|2000-01||Dick Whittington||Cissy Sessay||Stanley Sessay||Ratemon||Joanne Heywood (Dick Whittington)||Deborah Winn (Alice)**||**Suzy Cooper was absent this year.|
|1999-2000||Old Mother Milly||Milly Hinnyhum||Hillary Hinnyhum||Bugman||Juliet Howland (Obiokidoki)||Suzy Cooper (Valerie Fitzackerley)||A new pantomime plot based around the millennium.|
|1998-99||Beauty & the Beast||Dilly Dumdum||Dickie Dumdum||Wolfgang Amalieus||Juliet Howland (Prince Percy)||Suzy Cooper (Beauty)|
|1997-98||Aladdin||Widow Twankey||Wishee Washee||Abanazar||Suzy Cooper (Aladdin)||Juliet Howland (Princess Peekaboo)|
|1996-97||Mother Goose||Mother Goose||Eli Goose||The Dreaded Lurgi||Juliet Howland (Bradley Bradshaw)||Suzy Cooper (Cindy Goose)|
|1995-96||Cinderella||Bazooka||Buttons||*||Juliet Howland (Prince Charming)||Suzy Cooper (Cinderella)||* Leonard absent this year|
|1994-95||Sleeping Beauty||Geordina II, Queen of Acomb||Mordecai, Prince of Dales||Evil Eva / Rocula||Juliet Howland (Prince Stephen of Scarborough)||Suzy Cooper (Princess Beauty)|
|1993-94||Jack and the Beanstalk||Haricot Hasbean||Willy Hasbean||Dr Evilstein||Karen-Jane Tomlinson (Jack Hasbean)||Suzy Cooper (Jilliana)|
|1992-93||Babes in the Wood||Dame Nanny Nutter||Norma Nutter||The Sheriff of Nottingham||Julie Anne Blythen (Robin Hood)||Julia Howson (Maid Marion)|
|1991-92||Dick Whittington||Dame Bertha Dogsbody||Jack Dogsbody||Ratman||Alison Reddihough (Dick Whittington)||Gemma Page (Alice Fitzwarren)|
|1990-91||Mother Goose||Mother Girty Goose||Jesse Goose||Lucifer Dreddark||Trilby Harris (Henry Knavesmire)||Alison Reddihough (Cisse Goose)|