As a pink limousine pulled up outside the Kings Theatre, two Ugly Sisters frantically cycled behind on a tandem having missed their lift.
It’s nearly panto time again and the antics at yesterday’s launch of Cinderella almost brought parts of Albert Road in Southsea to a standstill.
In the car were Hollyoaks star Marcus Patrick and Coronation Street’s Tracy Shaw with fellow cast members.
Gosport-born Marcus, 32, is well-known for playing Ben Davis in the long-running soap but is aiming to make a name for himself on stage as Dandini.
He said: ‘It’s the perfect show for me to do, especially as it’s my first pantomime. I grew up in this area so I know my way around and it’s such an amazing theatre.’
After living in Gosport until he was 18, Marcus moved to London where he auditioned for a role in Hollyoaks.
Now living just outside Reading, Marcus has a family of his own – girlfriend Georgia Martin and 12-month-old son Ethan.
He added: ‘I still have family here. My sister lives in Fareham and my 96-year-old nan still lives in Gosport.
‘I think my son would be a bit too young to come and watch though. You’d just see a baby getting up and crawling across the stage halfway through the show.’
After winning the reality TV series 71 Degrees North last year, Marcus is happy to be appearing on stage.
He explained: ‘It’s really hard to get into theatre and get your foot in the door. I love doing it and it’s great to be back in Portsmouth.’
Sandra Smith, marketing and booking manager of the Kings, said: ‘People really enjoy a traditional pantomime and we have several different generations of families who come.
‘As soon as the music starts, the whole audience is with the show and they forget anything else.’
Starring alongside Marcus, Tracy is well-known for playing Maxine Peacock in Coronation Street. She left when her character was murdered in 2003.
Also included in the line-up for Cinderella are Emmerdale favourites Stuart Wade, who played Biff Fowler, and Leah Bracknell, who played the role of Zoe Tate for 16 years.
Last Of The Summer Wine actor Tom Owen will play the Baron, while Talia Janson will play Cinderella and Paul Callen is Prince Charming.
Playing the Ugly Sisters will be Richard Stride, who was Dame Tilly Trott in last year’s Kings pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, and Sean Luckham. Young dancers from the city-based Iris Barnes School of Dance will also be performing.
Cinderella will be at the Kings from December 7 to January 1. Tickets from (023) 9282 8282, or go to kings-southsea.com.