Go: Theatre: Rock on Tommy with Jonathan and Pal Robbie

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Byline: By Marion McMullen

CHART-TOPPER Robbie Williams is rumoured to be heading to the Midlands to see his best mate Jonathan Wilkes play rock 'n' roll pinball wizard Tommy.

The musical opens at Birmingham Hippodrome on Wednesday and at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry from March 7. And it is rumoured that superstar Robbie will turn up at one or the other venue.

He and Jonathan have been firm friends since they were kids and Jonathan's first stage appearance was at the Queen's Theatre in Burslem opposite Robbie in an amateur production of Hans Christian Anderson.

Jonathan says he still remembers all the songs from the show and proves his point by launching into snatches of Ugly Duckling and Inch Worm.

"I was seven and Robbie was 11 and we had to run across the stage in nightgowns," remembers Jonathan. "One night Robbie came up to me and said the director had said we had to lift our nightgowns up as we were running across the stage. 'Really?' I said. 'Oh, yes,' says Robbie. So I ran out lifted my nightgown - and I didn't have any pants on underneath - and flashed the entire audience. The director went mad afterwards. He made me cry."

Robbie and Jonathan's friendship survived the experience. They shared a London flat for four years and Robbie was Jonathan's best man when he married dancer Nikki Wheeler in Los Angeles last year.

Jonathan has appeared on television in You've Been Framed and Live on a Saturday Night, but says his first love is the stage.

He has enjoyed success in Godspell, put on stockings and suspenders for The Rocky Horror Show 30th anniversary tour and rocked audiences in Grease. …