Ann Widdecombe Quick-Steps into panto!
Posted: 26 Apr 2017 - by PHA
The Marina Theatre Lowestoft has announced that The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe will star as the regal and authoritative Empress of China in this year’s spectacular family pantomime, Aladdin, which runs from Wednesday 13 December 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018.
Outspoken and controversial, Ann is one of the most high-profile politicians of recent times. MP for Maidstone between 1987 and 1997 and for Maidstone and the Weald between 1997 and 2010 she is more recently known for her explosive appearance on the BBC Saturday night favourite, Strictly Come Dancing. At the age of 63, she became the oldest contestant ever on the smash hit dance contest. Despite never being a favourite with the judges, Ann continually defied the odds with her dance partner Anton Du Beke, surviving 10 weeks into the competition. Her comedy-inflected routines showed a self-deprecating sense of humour and won her legions of fans.
Strictly has been just one of many forays on television. In 2002, she took part in Celebrity Fit Club, becoming a judge in later series. In 2005, she fronted her own series, Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue, and has since made documentaries on a wide range of subjects, including prostitution, ‘hoodies’, benefits culture, the Bible and more. In 2017 she lived on a farm in Sugar Free Farm (ITV) and experienced life as a Victorian in 24 Hours in the Past (BBC Two).
As a presenter, Ann has twice sat in the chairman’s seat on Have I Got News for You and asked very tricky questions on Cleverdicks (Sky Atlantic).
In addition to her media commitments, Ann is a prolific author and columnist. She has a weekly column in The Daily Express and has written five novels, a detective story and her memoirs, Strictly Ann.
Ann will be accompanied on stage by popstar Mark Read, known to millions as a member of hit boyband A1 and for their trio of Number One singles Take on Me, Caught in the Middle and Same Old Brand New You. With two decades in showbiz among his many credits Mark is set to play the title character Aladdin in this spectacular family adventure.
Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said: “I am thrilled to have secured Ann and Mark in what is already shaping up to be the biggest Christmas production Lowestoft has ever seen. With Ann’s charisma and remarkable sense of humour combined with Mark’s exceptional vocals and showmanship, not to mention the warmth and fun of returning comic Terry Gleed this year’s pantomime production really does have something for everyone.”
Tickets are on sale now via www.marinatheatre.co.uk or at the box office on 01502 533 200.
Strictly Come Dancing Star Takes to the Stage
Posted: 26 Apr 2017 - by Christopher Hall
The Bridlington Spa is delighted to announce star of the stage, professional dancer and Strictly favourite Robin Windsor will headline this year’s pantomime performing the role of Genie in their 2017 pantomime, Aladdin.
Showman Robin took his first steps on to the dance floor at the age of 3 when his parents enrolled him in a local dance school in Ipswich. From the very beginning, he studied both Ballroom and Latin dance, eventually competing at international level representing England where he amassed numerous World Championships titles.
Robin first stepped into the limelight in 2010, making his Strictly debut with celebrity partner Patsy Kensit where over 9 weeks the duo danced their way into the nation’s living rooms winning praise and applause from the judges and viewing public alike. Following the hit season, 2011 became a standout Strictly year for Robin, where he matched his first year success, lasting again till week 9 in the competition with EastEnders legend Anita Dobson and going on to win the Strictly Children in Need Special with presenter Susannah Reid.
With the coveted gliterball trophy firmly in his grasp, Robin was to have his most successful Strictly season yet with actress Lisa Riley. The duo became the standout stars of the series and the people’s favourites with many memorable moments and energetic performances including Lisa whisking Robin into her arms and up into the air, a routine which took the pair to the top of the judges’ scoreboard. The couple’s brilliant technicality and on stage charisma earned them a well-deserved place in the semi-finals. On a high from a sensational season with Lisa, Robin returned to the Strictly stage the following year with celeb entrepreneur Deborah Meaden. The pair proved popular with the judges achieving consistently high scores and ultimately lasting for a very respectable five weeks in the smash hit contest.
Away from our TV screens, from 2003-2010, Robin was part of the cast of Burn the Floor, one of the leading ballroom based shows in the world. Two tours with Burn the Floor (2003, 2004) and three with FloorPlay (2006 to 2008) took him several times around the world, leading up to the highlights being a stint on Broadway and in the London West End. Robin has also starred alongside his Professional Partner and Strictly co-star Kristina Rhianoff across the globe. Together the pair toured their sell out hit show Putting on the Ritz across the UK and put their best foot forward on the global media circuit, including a memorable performance on the South African version of Strictly.
Robin Winsor said: “I am unbelievably excited to be playing Genie in Aladdin. He’s known for his magic, his flamboyant costumes and his larger than life personality so I can’t wait to get going and make my mark with this great character! With years of Strictly under my belt I’m used to OTT and revealing costumes and giving big energetic performances - I can’t wait to show Bridlington what I’ve got!”
Tickets for this family favourite pantomime are on sale now via www.bridspa.comor at the box office on (01262) 678258.
Britain’s Got Talent Winner and Kids’ TV Legend Poised for Palace Panto!
Posted: 06 Apr 2017 - by PHA
A classic family pantomime is set to touch down in Redditch this Christmas with two stars of the stage and screen leading the line up in the spectacular Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which opens on Wednesday 6th December.
Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall is sure to charm audiences with his powerhouse vocal talents as Prince Charming while kids’ TV legend Dave Benson Phillips is set to play the adorable panto funny man Muddles!
Jai McDowall fast became a firm favourite with millions in Britain’s Got Talent, winning a legion of fans for his unique classical renditions of pop hits. Branded ‘one to watch’ and the ‘dark horse’ of the competition by star judge Amanda Holden, Jai successfully sang his way into the live final. He took to the stage for the final time in front of 13 million viewers with an emotional rendition of the Josh Groban hit “To Where You Are.” His powerful vocal secured his victory, scooping him a cool £100,000 prize along with a coveted slot at the 2011 Royal Varity Performance.
He took centre stage at the Britain’s Got Talent tour, playing to thousands at some of the biggest venues around the country. Having made his mark as a strong vocalist and performer, Jai signed to Simon Cowell’s music label Syco and released a debut album Believe that was well received by fans and critics alike.
Jai McDowall said “Paul Holman Associates have a fantastic reputation for producing brilliant family shows and I can’t wait to get working on learning my lines and selecting songs to perform for audiences in this beautiful theatre.”
Kids’ TV favourite Dave Benson Phillips has been at the heart of family entertainment for thirty years, becoming one of the most popular faces on the small screen! His big break came when he has working at Haven Holidays as a Children’s Uncle. He was spotted by the BBC and given the chance to appear in Playbus, which later became Playdays, a programme that ran successfully for 6 years.
This led to Dave being given his own show by the BBC, the phenomenally popular BAFTA nominated Get Your Own Back, which ran for fourteen series. He was given another major show in 1996, this time for ITV, called Wake Up in The Wild Room, which was aired every Saturday morning for two years.
Dave is very well known for starring in the best selling Fun Song Factory video series, which was televised for ITV. He has also presented numerous other programmes including the CITV series Petswap, co-presented by Fearne Cotton, Nick Jnr for Nickelodeon and Words and Pictures and Go For It for BBC Education. Dave is hugely well known for his work on the Disney Channel, presenting the children’s cookery programme Bitesize and as “Big Dave” on the Cable Guide Award winning, Playhouse Disney with co-presenter “Little Alex” Lovell.
Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said “ Following on from a record breaking run of Beauty and the Beach last year at the Palace I am thrilled to have Jai and Dave join what is already shaping up to be a stellar cast of sensational talent. Jai’s charm and amazing vocal talents and Dave’s showmanship will ensure this production of Snow White is a truly magical experience for all the family.”
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs opens at the Palace Theatre, Redditch from Wednesday 6th December until Sunday 31st December 2017. Tickets available from the box office (01527 65203) and online (www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk).