Some beans, a giant and Postman Pat

FOR some reason there are only three pantomimes I remember performing at school. The first was the traditional Nativity in pre-school, when I made a glorious acting debut as the Angel Gabriel.

The second was Cinderella, several years later, when I was slightly miffed to find that I’d gone from being cast as a lovely angel to being chosen to play Prince Charming.

No matter how charming he might have been, he was still a man.

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I suppose it could have been worse, they could have made me one of the ugly stepsisters, that really would have been damaging to the self-esteem.

The third was Jack and the Beanstalk, and I don’t recall what role I had in that but based on the decline in my acting career up to that point, I was probably the cow that gets sold for magic beans.

You might feel like you’ve had some magic beans yourself when you see Duo Pantomime’s version of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Grove Theatre. For this is no ordinary pantomime, it features Giant Blunderbore, the biggest giant ever seen on an English stage, and a guest appearance from the legendary Postman Pat, who is celebrating his 30th anniversary this year.

The more traditional cast members include ex-Hollyoaks star Gemma Bissix as the princess, rising star Toby Lord as our hero Jack, and Don Gilet, who most recently appeared in EastEnders, as the pantomime villain. I’m going to need some panto fun to cheer me up, as I’ve just discovered that Angel Gabriel was in fact a man, too!

Call 01582602080 to book.

Puppy love in magical musical

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THE spell-binding tale of a toy husky dog that comes to life is a Christmas treat for all the family at the Luton Library Theatre.

Created by the critically acclaimed Full House Theatre Company, The Snow Dog uses giant puppets, contemporary dance and original music. It’s a wonderful alternative to a pantomime and you’ll never look at your cuddly toys the same way again.

Funnily enough, my boyfriend’s favourite cuddly toy is a husky dog called (imaginatively) Husky, and I’m trying to persuade him to let us take him with us when we go and see the show. That’s if he’s still my boyfriend after reading this...

The show runs until Dec 28, call 01582 547474 for tickets.

Will Cinders win the lottery?

IN their 50th anniversary season, TADS in Toddington are revisiting the first pantomime they ever produced ten years ago, Cinderella.

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Cinderella may well have been the first early version of a modern panto, having been staged in Drury Lane in 1804.

In TADS’ version, Cinderella is the daughter of a broke and desperate Baron Brassic who is pinning all his hopes on a lottery win to save him and his daughter from a life of misery.

Featuring the repulsive Baroness Cleptomania and ugly stepsisters Bubonia, Pustilina and Nymphomania, it’s a traditional pantomime with slapstick, fun, song and dance. On December 16 - 17, for tickets call 07952 633234 or email [email protected].

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