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PANTO GETS THE ROYLE TREATMENT!

Much-loved madcap comic and radio star Steve Royle is more than ready to give another Royle command performance in this year’s magical family pantomime Cinderella at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre from Tuesday 5 December to Sunday 7 January. Oh yes he is!

The cheeky Chorley-based comic juggler and BBC Radio Lancashire presenter is revving up for his fifteenth fabulous year in pantomime at Blackpool’s Grand and he couldn’t be more excited about it. “Panto is my first love,” says the riotous stand-up comedian who most recently starred in his friend Peter Kay’s BAFTA winning TV comedy series Car Share. “I remember seeing Lenny Henry on stage in pantomime when I was a child and thinking to myself ‘I would love to do that’ and then I got my big break playing Rumpelstiltskin at school and I was off! I always feel that as a performer you don’t just ‘do’ panto – you really live it and love it and give it everything you’ve got to make it the best it can be each time. It’s an amazing opportunity to build a great connection with a live audience. That feeling of nervous energy you get as the curtain rises on the first night – it’s such a reward for all the work that has gone into the performance for weeks beforehand and you can never replace that. I still get that feeling every single year and it’s great.”

Steve famously entertained countless families at Camelot theme park for over a decade as the juggling jester Mad Edgar and is now a firm favourite with Grand Theatre audiences having entertained thousands of families during his years in panto. He has built up quite a following thanks to his legendary improvisational skills and delightfully daft antics and admits that now brings a certain level of pressure to deliver the goods each year. “I do feel the need to meet the expectations of panto audiences now,” he says. “I never understood it before when I did support spots for famous comics like Peter Kay and Dave Spikey. I always thought they didn’t have to worry about the audience liking them or anyone laughing at their material as they were fans who had come specifically to see them, so of course they were going to get a positive reception. Now I see that in itself brings a different level of pressure to not let people down, but it does also push you to bring better performances each time and keeps the passion alive, which I love. I am a lot more critical now too – so if something doesn’t work in rehearsal I won’t use it and will write something new.”

And what outrageous plans has he got for his loveable comedy character Buttons this year? “I am working on that right now,” he laughs. “We have a great cast this year and I am very keen to do something with JJ and the Shetland ponies as of course he is a trained jockey and so there’s plenty of scope there! I desperately want to do something with the Ugly Sisters as they are fabulous to work with and I am currently working on something around Justin Bieber’s song Despacito believe it or not! My wife is half Spanish and we have her cousin’s son staying with us for three months and so that is an opportunity I cannot pass up to do a play on that with the help of my new Spanish teacher… But there will be a slapstick element of course,” he muses “and possibly the return of Button’s very bendy ballet legs, which I know are very popular.”

 

Cinderella:

Steve will be making all this merriment this year with Union J singer and reality TV star JJ Hamblett (The X Factor); renowned Welsh actor Melanie Walters (Gavin & Stacey); popular children’s TV presenter Olivia Birchenough (Milkshake!) and comedy duo Jamie Morris & Tarot Joseph as the incredibly gorgeous Ugly Sisters, alongside the Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre dancers and the adorable Shetland Ponies in Cinderella’s charming tale of magic, mayhem and misunderstandings, live on the Grand Theatre’s famous stage. It’s a fabulous, fairytale treat for all the family this festive season!

Take a dazzling carriage ride to Blackpool’s beautiful Grand Theatre this Christmas and enjoy one of the most enchanting rags-to-riches fairy stories of them all. Cinderella is a timeless tale of romance, scheming step-sisters, spectacular spells and a gleaming lost glass slipper – all sprinkled with plenty of seasonal sparkle. This fun-packed pantomime features hit songs, spectacular sets, hilarious dance routines and sumptuous costumes – including the unmissable moment when Cinderella swaps her dowdy rags for her stunning ball gown and is transported to the Prince’s Ball. But – don‘t forget, she needs to be home by the stroke of midnight or her true identity will be revealed! Oh yes it will!

Cinderella is presented by Martin Dodd for UK Productions whom have been presenting the Christmas pantomime at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre since 2003. Other productions presented at The Grand by UK Productions include; Legally Blonde the Musical, Beauty and the Beast, The Kite Runner, 42nd Street, South Pacific, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Anything Goes.

Cinderella plays at Blackpool Grand Theatre from Tuesday 5 December 2017 to Sunday 7 January 2018

Starring BBC Radio Lancashire presenter and madcap comic Steve as Buttons; Union J’s JJ Hamblett (The X Factor) as the dashing Prince Charming; celebrated stage and TV star Melanie Walters (Gavin & Stacey) as Fairy Godmother; popular children’s presenter Olivia Birchenough (Milkshake!) as Cinderella and hilarious double act Jamie Morris & Tarot Joseph as the Ugly Sisters.

Book your seats today, otherwise not even your Fairy Godmother will be able to magic you a ticket to see Blackpool’s must-see Christmas show…

Tickets are available here or by calling the box office on 01253 290190.

 

Interview by Sarah Jane Wright.

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