Kings’ panto bug is catching: oh yes it is

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Albert Road, Southsea, is one of my favourite parts of the city. I can’t put my finger on why exactly so it must be a combination of things.

Maybe it’s because it is one of the best smelling places in Portsmouth with so many amazing restaurants with lots of tasty food which wafts up my nose when I drive from one end to the other. Maybe because it has a mix of quirky shops that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

But I think the main reason is that it is home to the stunning Kings Theatre, a place I love to be in.

I’ve been in the audience for various shows since I was a child, mostly the brilliant family pantomimes and in the past few years I’ve managed to get tickets for popular shows before they sold out including Blood Brothers, Alan Carr, Hairspray and Lee Evans.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to swap the seats for the stage when I was part of the pantomime cast for Sleeping Beauty. It was an experience I shall never forget mostly because of the fantastic team at the theatre, many of them volunteers who work hard to keep this beautiful place running.

I was also lucky enough to work with a talented cast, two of whom will be returning to the magical land of panto in Cinderella at the Kings this year.

Matt Dallen was Chester the Jester in Sleeping Beauty and is back by popular demand playing Buttons, Cinderella’s best friend.

Kings Theatre favourite Christopher Marlowe was the dame, Queen Gertie the Gorgeous in Sleeping Beauty, and will now leave his outrageous costumes in the dressing room to play Cinderella’s dad Baron Hard-up who is slightly foolish but loves his daughter.

Seeing these two actors in the line-up was great enough but it gets better with Towie’s Arg playing Dandini and West End star Anita Harris playing the wicked stepmother.

Since my pantomime experience two years ago I know how hard the cast, crew and staff work to make sure the show is the best it possibly could be for the audience.

I have great memories of rehearsing with my fellow cast members in the theatre bar from morning till night in the week before opening night with the script being changed many times to make it perfect for the audience.

I may be biased but I think you’ll love the pantomime whether you are nine years old or 90 and I recommend you go, especially if you have never been to a pantomime before.

But I warn you, you’ll be hooked and will want to go back year after year. Just like my daughters who have now been to two pantomimes at the Kings and are already looking forward to their third.

I’ll be happy to be in my favourite theatre in my favourite road in my favourite city.