Theatre Royal Winchester are pleased to announce the first members of its cast for this year’s traditional family pantomime, Cinderella – and it’s a double act reunion!
Pantomime duo, Julian Eardley and Ed Thorpe, are back together after last appearing as a pairing in the theatre’s production of Aladdin in 2021 – when they played the characters of Widow Twanky and Wishee Washee. In Cinderella, they will play the Fairy Godmother (Eardley) and Buttons (Thorpe).
Eardley and Thorpe’s beloved comic partnership was born out of the theatre’s 2017 pantomime, Peter Pan – when they played Smee and Mrs Smee. Peter Pan was Thorpe’s pantomime debut, for which he was nominated for Best Songsheet Performance at the Great British Pantomime Awards – and audiences rejoiced in the twosome returning for the next five years. Including in 2020 for Four Dames in Search of a Panto – a Christmas show that was specially created to follow the pandemic’s social distancing guidelines.
Since 2021, Eardley has returned to the theatre to win hearts with his portrayal of the Cowardly Lion in last year’s endearing production of The Wizard of Oz – the actor’s 13th pantomime with the venue. Last year also saw him give a lecture about life as a panto dame to The Art Workers’ Guild in London and host panto bingo at a festival.
Last year Thorpe toured the UK and Ireland as part of the cast of The Commitments; and performed in Rude Mechanical Theatre Company’s Gods and Dogs – about a dystopian world set in 2084 where people are glam celebs or slobbering dog-life followers.
The theatre welcomes their return and looks forward to their heartfelt jokes and mischief-making, with further cast announcements to follow.
Cinderella tells the rags to riches story of a servant girl whose Fairy Godmother transforms her into a beautiful princess to go to the ball to meet the handsome Prince. But when the clock strikes 12 she must flee, leaving the Prince to search his kingdom for her – with only the help of her glass slipper!
Theatre Royal Winchester’s annual pantomime is suitable for families and is filled with corny jokes, original songs, live music and audience participation.
It is produced by Play to the Crowd, the arts and education charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers, and comes from the same creative team behind previous years’ pantomimes including Beauty and the Beast, Dick Whittington and last season’s record-breaking Wizard of Oz – the Great British Pantomime Award-nominated pairing of writer, director and lyricist James Barry, with music by Simon Slater.
There will be a number of accessible performances of Cinderella including relaxed, audio-described and BSL-interpreted; a touch tour; plus, the ability to livestream at home – so everyone can enjoy the show in an environment right for them.
This year’s pantomime is supported by Play to the Crowd’s Corporate Partner, regional law firm, Paris Smith.
Cinderella will be at Theatre Royal Winchester from Thursday 30 November to Monday 01 January 2024 at various times. For more information or to book tickets visit theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk or call 01962 840 440.