It’s smiles all round as Gertie calls new rooms ‘marvellous’

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PANTOMIME season came early yesterday as Gertie the Gorgeous judged two newly-painted dressing rooms.

The Kings Theatre, in Albert Road, Southsea, is having a series of makeovers and energy company SSE pitched in to help out.

Grease paint to wet paint! Panto Dame Christopher Marlowe, who is playing Queen Gertie in Sleeping Beauty at the Kings Theatre this Christmas, had to choose between two teams from Southern Electric who where decorating the star changing rooms backstage and pick the best job. Left, Lucy Edge and right Salma Ahmed apply the finishing touch.''Picture: Steve Reid (132444-894)

Grease paint to wet paint! Panto Dame Christopher Marlowe, who is playing Queen Gertie in Sleeping Beauty at the Kings Theatre this Christmas, had to choose between two teams from Southern Electric who where decorating the star changing rooms backstage and pick the best job. Left, Lucy Edge and right Salma Ahmed apply the finishing touch.''Picture: Steve Reid (132444-894)

Two teams of six painted a dressing room each and actor Chris Marlowe, dressed as Gertie the Gorgeous, judged each room.

Gertie, who is the Dame in Sleeping Beauty, surprised the teams who worked for the full day non-stop to finish the rooms.

In the end he decided it was draw as both rooms looked like they had been done by professionals.

He said: ‘I thought the new dressing rooms were marvellous.

‘They were new, fresh and when you’re in the theatre, it is like your home so they’re lovely little rooms.

‘To be honest, they weren’t too bad before but they did need freshening up.

‘I remember about 10 years ago they were looking very tatty. They had looked quite good but now they look marvellous, just marvellous.

‘And for that reason it had to be a draw.

‘They were both very similar and gorgeous so no way could I pick one above the other.’

The new dressing rooms have been decorated in time for the busy pantomime season and, even if some of the actors and actresses don’t notice the difference, Chris said the regulars will.

He added: ‘People who perform here will see how lovely and clean it is.

‘Just a quick paint job can work wonders.’

The teams were happy with their finished looks and said they would be happy to come back and paint more rooms.

Ian Boucher, employee experience co-ordinator for SSE, said: ‘We decided to get involved because one of our employees, Dawn Mitchell, has a daughter who performed at the Kings.

‘She said about the different things they’re currently fixing so we decided to help out.

‘The teams have done a great job and they worked hard all day.

‘Both the IT and customer service teams can be proud and this might not be the last job we do at the Kings.’

SSE does a number of things for good causes as part of its Community at Heart programme.

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