Lowestoft panto set to hit giant new heights

AN opportunity for lots of laughs and thigh-slapping will certainly be knocking on the door of the Marina Theatre this Christmas, as popular stars appear in its pantomime which is bound to be a hit with Journal readers.

This season's pantomime is set to reach new giant heights of success as Jack and the Beanstalk looks to draw in bumper crowds between December 10 and January 2, in part thanks to its two main actors who have been a massive hit with television audiences.

Fans of the BBC comedy Allo' Allo are set to be entertained at the comic antics of Sue Hodge who plays the fairy godmother, Fairy Organic, who helps Jack on his journey from Sunnyvale to Cloudland via a giant sprouting beanstalk.

Sue achieved fame in the 1980s by playing the feisty French waitress Mimi Labonq in Allo' Allo'.

And in another coup for the Marina, Sue will be joined on stage by piano star Bobby Crush, who is playing the pantomime dame Dame Trott.

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Bobby shot to national fame after he won six heats of Opportunity Knocks, the X-Factor of the 1970s, and the talented pianist went on to write I Wish I Could Fly for Keith Harris and Orville.

The Journal can reveal that during the pantomime Bobby will be playing a medley of rock and roll hits on a piano – making his the only pantomime dame in the country who 'tinkles the ivories' during the seasonal shows.

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As well as showing off his keyboard skills and cracking jokes with the audience, Bobby faces a gruelling theatrical challenge – making 10 costume changes during each performance.

On Tuesday, at the launch of Jack and the Beanstalk, Bobby donned one of his most colourful costumes as he joined the cast for a photo shoot outside the Marina.

He told the Journal: 'I am very excited to be appearing in Lowestoft and at such a wonderful theatre.

'This will be the 10th time I am playing a pantomime dame.

'I really enjoy being a dame. You get to wear the best frocks and can have real laugh with the audience and flirt with them.

'Jack and the Beanstalk is going to be a fun-filled show with something for the whole family. It is going to be something really special.'

Sue could not be at Tuesday's launch as she was in Australia.

However, last month she flew into Lowestoft as Fairy Organic, in support of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival.

As well as Sue and Bobby, the pantomime features a talented cast who will each become a favourite for audience members with their comic antics.

Chris Edgerley, who will be familiar to children from the Channel Five show Hi-5, is playing the hero Jack.

He told the Journal the highlight for him of playing the part was getting to slap his thigh and winning the heart of beautiful Princess Amelia, played by Sophie Bloom who has appeared at Cromer Pier's Christmas Seaside Special.

Lowestoft born-and-bred actor David Redgrave plays the evil sword-wielding Fleshcreep; Geoffrey Strum plays King Crumble, and Adam Kelly plans Simple Simon.

Jack and the Beanstalk is directed by Debbie Flitcroft, who prides herself on the smut-free pantomime and is the wife of Roy Hudd.

The pantomime will be the first production under the auspices of the new Marina Theatre trust.

For information on Jack and the Beanstalk call the Marina Theatre box office on 01502 533200.

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