I’m in this year’s panto, oh yes I am

Surely, holding a door open for a member of either sex is just good manners?

LESLEY KEATING: Would you dare hold a door open for a woman?

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The great British tradition of pantomime is back at the Kings Theatre in Southsea and I’m playing the part of Lord Chamberlain in Sleeping Beauty.

This is my first on-stage pantomime experience at the Kings and I’m in awe to be surrounded by incredibly talented performers such as Christopher Marlowe, who’s playing Queen Gertie the Gorgeous, and Tony Adams, who plays King Egbert the Oval.

Rehearsals have been halted on several occasions with the entire cast in stitches at one of the many funny lines in the script.

I’m also honoured to be working in such a beautiful theatre, which has its own warm and historic atmosphere, and feel privileged to be able to explore not only the public but also the private areas.

I’d recommend you attend one of the many tours that the Kings runs.

But it’s certainly not the first time I’ve been in the stunning theatre in the heart of Southsea, watching the traditional family panto.

I would go along with my family when I was a boy and vividly remember being thoroughly entertained and not wanting the show to end.

Then as a teenager I would be there enjoying the show, just as I had always done, but secretly hoping none of the girls from school would see me, especially in the audience participation bits where the you would be encouraged to get up and dance.

When you’re 13, doing the actions to The Birdie Song just isn’t cool.

Then last year I took my daughter Caitlin to her first ever pantomime at the Kings – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I was worried a two-hour show might not hold her attention, but she was mesmerised throughout.

She still thinks the theatre is act-ually a castle where a princess lives.

Little did I know at the time that just one year later it would be me on that stage and part of the show.

I’m not the first radio presenter from the area to swap the studio for the Kings Theatre stage.

I remember ex-colleague Maximum Bob from the Power FM breakfast show starring in Dick Whittington back in 2002.

Then a few years later it was Power FM’s Toni Phillips, starring in Aladdin, and two years ago ex-Heart presenter Jules Mayne appeared in Cinderella.

My opinion may be incredibly biased, but I think whether you are four years old or 94 years old, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy this year’s pantomime.

I can’t wait to see my daughters in the audience, not only for their reaction when they see daddy on stage, but also if I forget my lines they can prompt me, as they have been helping me practice and know them just as well as I do.