The panto season is behind you! Oh no, it isn’t!
In fact, it’s all very much in front of us as Preston’s festive pantomime for this year, the fabulous rags-to-riches fairytale of Cinderella, looks once again set to smash box office records.
A capacity crowd flocked to the glittering opening night last week as panto mastermind, Ted Robbins, the former Phoenix Nights star, now known to kids everywhere as The Guvnor from kids TV show, The Slammer, unveiled this year’s festive treat.
Ted, who always writes, directs and stars in the Charter Theatre’s seasonal offering, plays Baron Hardup in this year’s show.
He is joined onstage by former Emmerdale star, Leah Bracknell, who played vet Zoe Tate in the farm soap and is now stretching her wings as Cinders’ Fairy Godmother.
Panto regular Jodie Hamblett returns as neglected skivvy Cinderella while ex Waterloo Road star Tom Milner, who joined the Charter Theatre cast for the first time last year, is also back as faithful page Buttons.
They are joined by Phil Swift as Prince Charming and Ben Deaville as Dandini.
But the big stars of this year’s show are the hilarious Harper Brothers, the sons of veteran comic Bobby Ball, who are dragging up for the first time this year to play Cinderella’s two vile Ugly Sisters.
The pair have comedy running through their veins and have plenty of slapstick tips from their dad, who is one half of comedy duo, Cannon and Ball.
And, this year, they are making the Ugly Sisters roles very much their own.
Guild Hall marketing manager Hannah Slater said: “The Harper Brothers are truly great as the Ugly Sisters.
“It is the first time they have “dragged up” so we were wondering how it would go. They are hilarious anyway but, as the Ugly Sisters, they are an absolute riot!
“And they are giving Ted some grief too - which is great, haha!”
The pantomime, produced every year by the venue’s inhouse production team, Guild Hall Productions, has broken box office records each year since Ted was enlisted as its main man - and looks set to do so again this year.
Hannah Slater said: “We are well on target to break all previous records again - which is always nice!”
Performances continue throughout the festive season with the last show on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are still available from the Guild Hall box office on 0844 844 7714.