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It's panto season - oh yes, is
Midland musical superstar Beverley Knight heads a star-studded cast at Birmingham Hippodrome this Christmas. Bev is making her pantomime debut in Cinderella alongside Danny Mac, Suzanne Shaw, Matt Slack, The Grumbleweeds, Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall. It runs at the Hippodrome from December 19, 2017 until January 28, 2018.
Debut: Beverley Knight as The Fairy Godmother (pic: Simon Hadley)
Wolverhampton-born Beverley, who has just completed her I ❤ Soulsville UK concert tour, will take the role of The Fairy Godmother. She has previously received plaudits for her roles as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard, Felicia in Memphis and Grizabella in Cats.
She says: ''I'm absolutely thrilled to be coming home to the Midlands for my first ever panto this Christmas. I've never felt so sparkly and I'm already very attached to my magic wand! Birmingham Hippodrome has such an incredible reputation for panto and I can't wait to celebrate Christmas here in 'Gods own country' with friends, family and my wonderful co-stars. Speaking as a local girl, Midlands audiences really are some of the best in the world – they know how to enjoy themselves and they're always game for a laugh. We're going to have an absolute ball!''
Strictly Come Dancing finalist Danny Mac is Prince Charming. He has appeared in many theatre productions, including Oliver!, Wicked and Les Miserables. He's currently starring in Sunset Boulevard which visits Birmingham Hippodrome from November 13 – 18.
Talent: Suzanne Shaw is Cinderella (pic: Simon Hadley)
In the title role of Cinderella is Suzanne Shaw who rose to fame via TV talent show Popstars and pop group Hear'Say. She has appeared in various leading stage roles and pantomimes, and starred as Eve Jenson in ITV's Emmerdale. In 2008 she won the third series of Dancing on Ice.
Comic: Matt Slack is Butons (pic: Simon Hadley)
Funnyman Matt Slack returns for his fifth consecutive Hippodrome panto, in the role of Buttons. He won the Best Comic category in the first Great British Pantomime awards for his role as Idle Jack in last year's production of Dick Whittington.
Robin Colvill and James Brandon, aka The Grumbleweeds, will appear as The Broker's Men, with Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall completing the panto line-up as the Ugly Sisters, Voluptua and Verruca.
Ugly Sisters: Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall (pic: Simon Hadley)
Producer and Director Michael Harrison says: "This year's fantastic line-up will ensure another smash-hit pantomime for the Hippodrome in 2017/18. With so many stars across the worlds of music, theatre, dance and comedy I'm delighted we've assembled such a stellar cast for Birmingham's ultimate pantomime. Once again there'll be plenty of laughs, surprises and audience participation to look forward to."