EastEnders’ Steve McFadden to star in Alban Arena panto

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk starring Bob Golding, Steve McFadden and Rebecca Keatley

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk starring Bob Golding, Steve McFadden and Rebecca Keatley - Credit: Archant

He’s been shot, had Barbara Windsor as a mother, and been one half of the nation’s most famous on-screen brothers, but now Steve McFadden will be assisting a menacing giant in this year’s St Albans pantomime.

The EastEnders star, who plays hardman Phil Mitchell, is joining local favourites Bob Golding and Gemma Carlisle as ‘Fleshcreep’, a dastardly villain in Jack and the Beanstalk.

This is not the first time Steve has trod the boards, having trained at RADA, and already appeared in a whole host of pantos.

He was quick to pinpoint why he loves performing in them: “Because I’m at EastEnders every year and it’s very intense and there’s no contact with the audience, and its very sort of gritty and miserable at times, it’s great to come out and have some fun and do something more physically demanding and uplifting and getting involved with the public.”

“We never get a round of applause at EastEnders or we never get that feel of the audience. Also I’m trained to do theatre but I never get a chance to do anything, so this is my chance to do theatre.”

The actor has already been given some recommendations on where is good to go in the district for when he is here at Christmas and said the city had caught his eye before: “I’ve always sort of wanted to get to know this place. There are certain places I always thought I could live in that are out of London, and I feel like this could be one of them.”

Joining Steve on the Alban Arena stage is none other than local favourite Bob Golding, who has just completed a gruelling 331 performance tour in Morecambe, which had its final date at the arena on Sunday night.

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He said of the show: “It was incredible. A great journey and a lovely story to tell. All the Morecambe family turned up last night [Sunday].”

Having played cheeky chappy Buttons in last year’s panto, Bob is excited to see how his new role as Dame Trott is going to turn out: “I’ve not really thought about doing a Dame before because it’s a whole different angle for me, although I keep being told it’s just the same – you’re just in a frock.”

Pantomimes are close to the comedian’s heart, as in his eyes they are the gateway to some people’s first experience of culture: “Panto is often the first time people experience the theatre; it was for me when I was 10 or 11.”

Also excited to tell the timely tale of Jack and his magic beans is the young actor playing the eponymous hero of the story.

Andrew Bryant will be starring as Jack Trott for the second time in his career and said: “I always love to do pantomimes. All the people are lovely.”

The pantomime will run from Friday, December 5, until January 4. Ticket prices range from £18 to £25, with a £2.50 discount for concessions.

For more information visit www.alban-arena.co.uk or telephone 01727 844488.