Today, local and regional press descended upon Edwardian playhouse The Kings Theatre in Southsea’s Albert Road high street for an opportunity to meet and interview the stars of this year’s pantomime production of Cinderella.
A star-studded line-up arrived outside the theatre in a horse-drawn carriage, including Carry On and West End star Anita Harris (the Wicked Stepmother) and TOWIE actor James ‘Arg’ Argent (Dandini).
Also performing in the pantomime are Emily Trebicki in the title role of Cinderella, Christopher Marlowe as Baron Hardup, Matt Dallen as Buttons, Phil Randall as the Ugly Sister, Jordan Adams as the Prince, and Justine Marie Mead as the Fairy Godmother.
We sat down with Anita to talk about the pantomime. “I’m playing Baroness Hardup, who is the wicked stepmother, so I’ll be giving poor Cinderella a bit of a hard time! I’m looking forward to being wicked, and being naughty, and seeing the audience come in and have a wonderful time.
“The last time I was here was with a lovely actor called Simon Ward in a play called Double Double and before that it was with the wonderful Clive Dunn.”
Describing the experience of being part of a panto, Anita told us: “It’s something that’s quite hard to explain until you walk through the front doors of the theatre or the stage door; something happens. It’s because people come together to enjoy themselves, to be part of an experience.
“Panto is one of my favourite things to do. There’s an enchantment that happens. I performed in Cinderella in 1967. Jimmy Tarbuck was Buttons. That taught me the magic that can be created. The lady that directed that was a lady called Pauline Grant, and she then directed me in Peter Pan. She was the one that grounded me in finding the character.”
We also spoke to Cinderella herself, Emily Trebicki. She told us: “Panto is definitely one of my favourite jobs. I love that it’s such a tradition, and that it’s quintessentially British. Where else can you see a fabulous show and gorgeous stars?
“I previously played Cinderella here a few years ago, and it was absolutely wonderful. I know how utterly awesome Portsmouth crowds get! I’ve done panto every year for about 15 years. This is very much my favourite theatre I’ve ever played panto in.”
Cinderella’s father Baron Hardup will be played by Portsmouth-born Christopher Marlowe. He spoke to Team Locals, saying: “I’m playing Cinderella’s father — the nice one! Because he foolishly married a second time to this horrible lady with two horrible daughters. I don’t like them, but I love my Cinderella!
“It’s lovely to do panto here in my hometown. I did spend 25 years in London, but I’ve come back to my roots, and this has always been my favourite theatre. I first appeared here as a little boy in 1971, in a production of Oliver. I was the Artful Dodger!
“Being able to perform in your favourite theatre in your hometown in a genre you love — pantomime — is lucky! I’m a very lucky person.”
The story follows the universally-beloved story of poor Cinderella escaping to the Ball, meeting her handsome Prince, and contending with her Wicked Stepmother and two Ugly Sisters.
As with all Kings Theatre pantomimes, audiences can expect lavish sets, sparkly costumes, and plenty of cheers, jeers, and jokes to make for a classic festive panto experience.
The Cinderella pantomime runs from Tuesday 8th December 2015 to Sunday 3rd January 2016, with special signed performance on Tuesday 15th December at 2:00pm and Sunday 20th December from 4:00pm.
Book your tickets now through the Kings Theatre website » or by calling the playhouse box office on 02392 828 282.