The professional cast of Clacton’s Princes Theatre panto are busy rehearsing for their opening performances next weekend.
Beauty and the Beast has two shows on Saturday (December 9), a 2pm matinee and gala event at 6pm, and then it runs through daily until January 1, except for December 20 and Christmas Day.
Former professional model and TOWIE’s Dan Osborne is taking on the role of Gaston and is looking forward to the challenge.
He joined the hit ITV show in May 2013 and the following year was selected to be one of the 20 contestants in the ITV1 show, Splash, hosted by Olympic diver Tom Daley.
Dan made it all the way through to the finals and his success added to his growing army of fans.
“It will be great to be in panto in my home county and it will make for a different kind of Christmas for the family this year,” he said.
“I know it’s going to be hard work with 30 shows to perform but rehearsals are going well and we have a great cast lined-up.
“I have been lucky enough to have done a couple of pantos before so I know exactly what I’m in for and my kids are getting excited about coming along to see dad on stage.
“I have been told the audiences at the Princes pantos really love getting involved and so we should be in for a good time in Clacton.”
The ever-popular Ian Summers is returning for his third consecutive Princes panto as Dame Dolly Doughnut while Belle will be played by Holly Harcourt. The role of Prince Lucian/Beast goes to Jordan Carr and Daniel Noah is French Franc.
Clive Linthorne, an experienced panto performer, is Maurice; Grimalkin is played by Jemma Harris and Fairy Flambe by Natasha Brooke. One of the stars this winter is bound to be six-year-old Norwich Terrier Merlin who is Belle’s pooch.
They will be joined by principal dancers Jordan Scrase, James Chew, Grace Loader and Andria Agapiouas well as three teams of children’s chorus, each made up of eight youngsters from the Tendring area.
The production has been arranged by Polka Dot Pantomimes, who are based in Lincolnshire, and are putting on seven professional pantos around the country this Christmas.
The company’s version of Beauty and the Beast is a spellbinding story of a selfish prince who is destined to spend the rest of his life hidden in his castle in the guise of a grotesque beast.
Heroine Belle, our beauty, rushes to the rescue with her madcap pals. Can she save the day and learn to love the beast?
The show is directed once again by Neil Couperthwaite and choreographed by Vikki Bussell.
Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said he is looking forward to opening night.
“Polka Dot never let Clacton down and always produce a panto of the very highest standard with exceptionally talented performers,” he added. “I am sure they will be well supported with packed houses again this year.”
Tickets are selling fast and are available from the Princes Theatre box office on 01255 586633 on online at www.princestheatre.co.uk