Panto magic for Pompey as Dick Whittington stars visit Southsea businesses ahead of summer stage performances at The Kings Theatre

THEATRE stars brought some panto magic to Southsea shops and gyms.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 8:39 am

Two characters from Dick Whittington, The Kings Theatre’s upcoming summer panto performance, visited businesses around the city, starting on Albert Road.

Dick Whittington, also known as Sean Smith, was joined by his best friend Silly Billy, or James Percy, as they showed support for local businesses and whipped up excitement for the panto.

First stop for the duo was The Kings pub opposite the theatre, where Dick and Billy enjoyed a drink in the sunshine.

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Dick Whittington and Silly Billy outside The Kings pub, Albert Road. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Next up was Garbo’s Hair, also on Albert Road, where Billy had a quick trim with stylist Tara Bone.

Finally the panto heroes broke a sweat in the ring as they visited Gym 01 Fitness and Mixed Martial Arts at The Partnership Park.

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Poor Dick had to postpone his journey at Christmas to become Lord Mayor of London when Covid measures meant that panto season had to be cut short.

The Kings Theatre panto stars visited shops, hairdressers and pubs. Picture: Habibur Rahman

However, Pompey panto star Sean is returning to the role of Dick Whittington - although this time he will be joined by sister Sarah Smith, who will be Fairy Bowbells.

The two used to perform as X Factor finalist musical act Same Difference, and this panto will see them back on stage together for the first time in seven years.

Sean said: ‘I can’t wait, and it’s super exciting that my sister is going to be involved!

‘We all know that it is a great show and fun for all the family.

Dick Whittington and Silly Billy with Tara Bone at Garbos Hair, Albert Road. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘It was a disappointment at Christmas but we want to pick up where we left off.

‘It’s such a special show with a special group of performers, and great for the community.’

James added: ‘It feels amazing to be able to finish what we started, it ended so abruptly.

‘To be able to bring it back and finish the run feels great!’

Dick Whittington and Silly Billy at GYM01, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Kings Theatre estimates that 11,000 people bought tickets to original performances of Dick Whittington which couldn’t be staged after the city’s lockdown tier was changed.

Paul Woolf, chief executive at the theatre, said: ‘We’re delighted, we’re thrilled to be finishing what we started. The roadmap is holding and things are easing off.

‘We’re pleased that the vaccinations are happening and giving people more confidence.

‘Next step is May 17 when people will be able to go indoors again.

‘When we were forced to shut, it was pretty emotional that we were forced to close.

‘A theatre is not designed to shut or to be empty of people, so we’re excited at the idea of getting people back in.

Sean Smith as Dick Whittington with James Percy as Silly Billy outside The Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We want to get the theatre breathing again with people.’

Dick Whittington is set to be the first ever Pompey Summer Panto at The King’s Theatre, and every available seat is priced at £20.

Jack Edwards will be returning as Dame Dolly, with Julia Worsley as Queen Rat.

The theatre promises incredible sets and costumes for an all-singing, all-dancing performance.

Find out more, or book tickets, by visiting the website at www.kingsportsmouth.co.uk.

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The panto stars pump iron at GYM01, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman