Gareth Gates at Alban Arena panto launch
PUBLISHED: 10:13 26 September 2013 | UPDATED: 10:13 26 September 2013
He stole thousands of hearts during his rise to pop stardom and now Gareth Gates will be seeking out the lucky owner of a glittery, glass slipper in St Albans' Christmas pantomime, Cinderella.
This year’s performance welcomes a stellar cast alongside the Pop Idol finalist, including local funny man Bob Golding as Buttons, CBeebies presenter Andy Day as Dandini, and panto regular Jemma Carlisle as Cinderella.
Set to be the biggest, glitziest and most ambitious pantomime the city has ever seen, the magical Evolution production runs from December 6 to January 5 and even features real horses on stage.
Singer Gareth has wowed crowds in a string of West End plays in recent years but said he has a soft spot for “panto”, having already played Prince Charming four times, and cannot wait to get stuck in: “For me it’s fun. I’ve done Les Misérables, I’ve done Joseph, and Legally Blonde which are all kind of serious musical theatre, and when it comes to panto, it’s just a bit more free and a bit more fun.
“You can have a laugh on stage; you can ad lib and interact with the audience, so I’m really looking forward to that.
“I’m also looking forward to bringing my daughter down, she’s four. She’ll really enjoy seeing daddy being the prince.”
Bob, who is also directing the show this year and returning for his third consecutive panto, said: “It’s gonna be very glitzy, it’s a proper traditional pantomime this year.”
The Morecambe and Tweenies star added: “I remember this time last year saying I think this is going to be the best pantomime there has ever been and I think it was.
“We had a fantastic response from the audience; I think we can do it again this year.”
Andy, a BAFTA nominee and star of Andy’s Wild Adventures, shared Bob’s excitement: “Evolution production are a company I’ve been wanting to work with for absolutely ages – I’ve seen a lot of their pantos and I think they’re brilliant and funny, they’ve got the magic, they’ve got everything a panto should have.
“I love panto, I think its one of those great British traditions that brings everyone together at Christmas, makes it feel like Christmas and its great family entertainment.
“I think it’s just the one solid, family entertainment that everyone knows about – you’ve probably grown up with it, it brings you back to being a kid again. Its great, love it.”
Tickets for Cinderella start at £17.50 for adults and there is a £2.50 discount for concessions.
For more information visit www.alban-arena.co.uk or call 01727 844488.