THEY have yet to start rehearsals, but Southsea may have already cast its spell on the fairy godmother in this year’s panto at The Kings Theatre.
Presenter and reality TV star Melinda Messenger is playing Fairy Sparkles in this Christmas’s offering, Snow White.
I was gobsmacked when I walked in to The Kings – what a little gem of a theatre!Melinda Messenger
Melinda and the show’s other stars, including veteran of stage and screen Anita Harris as the wicked Queen Malevola, Gosport-born former Hollyoaks star Marcus Patrick as The Huntsman, and Portsmouth’s own Jack Edwards as the dame, Sarah Spoilt, were in town for the panto’s launch.
This will be the former glamour model’s eighth panto, but her first time performing in Portsmouth. She said: ‘I was gobsmacked when I walked in – what a little gem of a theatre! And what a beautiful area.
‘I drove down thinking, I could see myself moving here.’
Taking on the title role is Hannah Lowther, 19, from Basingstoke, who won the part in an open casting.
But while she is a veteran of the stage – she appeared in The Sound of Music in The West End at just 11 – she has never been in panto before, and only ever seen one panto performance.
She finished three years of training at the Italia Conti Arts Centre in Guildford this summer.
‘It’s completely new for me,’ she said. ‘They don’t teach you this sort of thing at college – enjoy the show, guys!
‘It’s going to be a steep learning curve, but in the best way possible. I’ve wanted to do panto for so long.’
Anita was made a patron of The Kings at the end of her last run there in Cinderella two years ago.
‘I had no idea they were going to do that – but I am so proud of that,’ she said.
‘Panto is a very special time of the year for everyone and there was no hesitation whatsoever when they asked me to come back.
‘The joy of playing the baddie is waiting to hear those boos.’
And Jack, who returns for a third stint as The Kings’ panto dame, said: ‘I was in Yeovil last year for the pantomime, in Peter Pan, and it was different – it’s good to be back at The Kings.’
Snow White runs from December 5 to January 1.
Tickets cost from £16 to £29.50 depending on time and date of the performance. Go to kingsportsmouth.co.uk or call the box office on (023) 9282 82828.