Spectacular dance comes to Southsea

MP gets behind initiative to get children invested in reading

High-kicking has a high profile in the spring season at the Kings Theatre, with Brendan Cole, Wayne Sleep, Flawless and the Russian Ice Stars all lining up some spectacular dancing for Southsea.

Brendan Cole, Live And Unjudged, will strut his stuff at close quarters on January 22 with other Strictly Come Dancing favourites.

The Russian Ice Stars will stage the familiar Peter Pan story on ice (January 25-29).

Flawless, who caught the public imagination in Britain's Got Talent, will fuse street dance with jazz and ballet (March 1).

And on April 19, the Kings audience can expect Precious Little Sleep.

This is the title of a show starring diminutive dancer and actor Wayne Sleep, celebrating his life and career with routines he has himself choreographed for his new tour.

In fact dance also features in another mini-theme of the season – a theme of (how can we put this politely?) well-endowed women.

On April 7, The Big Ballet takes its Size Does Matter tour to the Kings, featuring 16 corps de ballet dancers weighing a minimum 16 stone apiece.

A week later, a show called Busting Out! appears to mean exactly what it says on the tin – featuring bosom buddies engaged in 'topless nudity'.

And then, to top it all another week on, News columnist Heather James promises to make a stand for theatre-goers of her own age with an 'outrageous' 60th birthday show called Pretty In Pink, in aid of Breast Cancer Care.

Among other charity events will be two supporting the Rowans Hospice.

Helena Blackman from Locks Heath, runner-up in TV's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, heads the cast of Portsmouth Does Variety, the first post-panto show on January 16.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Kings itself will also benefit from this production, which is being staged by brothers Sam and James Westerby, producers of a weekly radio show for St Mary's and Queen Alexandra hospitals in Portsmouth.

Then the first ever singalong screening of The Wizard Of Oz will take place in aid of the Rowans Home Appeal, Dorothy's Dream (April 1).

As previously announced, the season's big touring musical is Bill Kenwright's famous production of Blood Brothers (May 3-7). Former X Factor star and Midlands housewife Niki Evans takes centre-stage as Mrs Johnstone.

Another major event will be the arrival of Zippo's Circus, promising an array of vivid spectacle, on stage from February 22-27.

Portsmouth Players will stage The Music Man and South Downe Musical Society a Best Of Showstoppers programme.

The season also features not only a range of music tribute acts but the real Steve Harley, Blake, the Searchers, Joe Brown and Chris Barber – plus films, comedy and more.

Details and tickets: (023) 9282 8282 or kings-southsea.org.uk