Big stars lined up for panto

CHRISTMAS may be months away but panto fever is already starting to build – oh yes it is – as details of Ipswich Regent's first professional pantomime are revealed today.

By Jo Macdonald

CHRISTMAS may be months away but panto fever is already starting to build - oh yes it is - as details of Ipswich Regent's first professional pantomime are revealed today.

The Evening Star can disclose that the production set to take to the stage in December will be Peter Pan and stepping into the shoes of the evil Captain Hook will be acclaimed British actor Brian Blessed.

Peter Pan, meanwhile, will be played by children's television presenter Kirsten O'Brien.


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Between them the pair are likely to attract an audience of all ages for what promises to be a traditional family panto the like of which the Regent has never seen before.

It will take the place of the Co-op Junior's who for 25 years staged their annual festive production at the Regent over the Christmas period but who will this year be launching a new show at Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

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Brian Blessed is one of Britain's best known actors and a true thespian, famed for his eloquent wit and booming voice.

He has played many familiar characters on stage and screen, including Old Deuteronomy in Cats, The Baron in the current stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon.

He is also famed for his Shakespearean roles and a Goliath-like stature and big beard which once earned him the accolade of "actor most resembling god" from film fans.

Kirsten O'Brien meanwhile will be familiar with younger audiences for her job as a CBBC presenter from 1996 to 1999. More recently she has fronted the children's art show SMart and is also a presenter on BBC 7's Big Toe Show.

Peter Pan will receive its official launch when Brian and Kirsten visit Ipswich next week and will be at the Regent from December 17 to January 15.

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