Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's Oh So Good to Be a Baddie; Main Stage: Head to Panto Land

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's Oh So Good to Be a Baddie; Main Stage: Head to Panto Land

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen McLauchlan

DECEMBER can mean only one thing in theatre-land ... it's panto season!

Pantomimes are getting under way at Middlesbrough Theatre and Darlington's Civic and there's also a host of other festive shows for all the family on offer around the region.

Middlesbrough's JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, which opens today, is headlined by Claire King of Emmerdale and Bad Girls fame who is sticking her talons into the role of the wicked fairy Belladonna this year.

Colin Roberts returns to the theatre to take the role of the dame (this time Dame Durden), Liam Mellor plays Simple Simon, Fairy Thistledown is played by Josephine McHugh, King Ethelred is Tim Heath, Princess Rosalinde is Louise Franck and Jack Durden is Catherine Wainwright.

Claire says she always looks forward to panto time and playing the role of a villain, she laughs, means you can really get the audience going.

"I haven't done Jack And The Beanstalk before -I'm usually in Snow White where I'm usually the wicked queen," she laughs. "I'm a wicked fairy this time.

"They're always fun to play," she says of baddies. You can get your teeth into the role, have fun and be really big -it is all part of it."

Claire lives in Harrogate so she's looking forward to having a home base at Christmas, making the hour-long commute to Middlesbrough Theatre, providing the weather stays favourable.

She's a keen horsewoman so she's not a stranger to Teesside as her horses often run at Redcar Racecourse.

"I come up to Redcar races when I can," she says. "It's not always easy if I'm working, though."

Details on 01642 818185. Across in Darlington, PETER PAN opens tomorrow, starring David Essex.

David, who completed a sell out arena tour around the UK with The Osmonds and Leo Sayer earlier this year, will play Captain Hook in the panto alongside his new wife Susan Hallam Wright as Peter. …

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