The stars of this year’s Theatre Royal Nottingham pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, proved it’s never too early to talk all things pantomime by launching this year’s production in style. Television stars Sherrie Hewson and Ben Richards joined previous Theatre Royal panto favourites Ben Nickless and Andrew Ryan to speak to the press about this year’s production which opens on Saturday 9 December.
Much-loved actress, TV star, ex-Loose Women presenter, and Nottingham native, Sherrie Hewson leads the cast of this year’s spectacular panto as Mrs Potty. Her roles in Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Crossroads, and the legendary Carry On films have all led to Sherrie becoming one of Britain’s best-loved and most popular faces on television. In the last decade Sherrie made a niche for herself as the comedy cornerstone on Loose Women and ITV’s popular hit Benidorm as the legendary Joyce Temple-Savage.Beauty and the Beast marks Sherrie’s return to pantomime with Qdos Entertainment having last headlined for them in Hull New Theatre’s production of Aladdin in 2014.
Joining her as the Beast in this year’s pantomime is Ben Richards who rose to fame on the ITV dramaFootballers’ Wives. Since hanging up his fictional football boots Ben went on to secure high-profile television roles in Holby City, The Bill, Doctors, and Hollyoaks. No stranger to the stage, Ben has held leading roles in Grease, Saturday Night Fever, The Full Monty, and Little Shop of Horrors.
Further stage roles include Guys and Dolls; the role of Tick in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Bill Sykes in Oliver!; and UK tours of Dolly Parton’s musical 9 to 5 and Rock of Ages, both of which played at the Theatre Royal Nottingham. Most recently Ben starred as the titular character in The Bodyguard opposite Beverley Knight at the Dominion Theatre, London, which broke Box Office attendance records.
Alongside Sherrie and Ben, zany impressionist and comedy actor Ben Nickless makes a welcome return to the Theatre Royal Nottingham pantomime as funny man Benny Blumenthal. Ben’s career took off in 2006 when he appeared on the BBC television series Let Me Entertain You alongside Brian Conley and Christine Bleakley. Since then, Ben has become popular on the comedy circuit and has delighted audiences with his comedy roles in many pantomimes. This will be Ben’s fourth Theatre Royal Nottingham pantomime, having previously appeared alongside David Hasselhoff in Peter Pan (2013), Lesley Joseph in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2014), and Christopher Biggins and Simon Webbe in Aladdin (2015).
Completing the line-up this year is pantomime dame extraordinaire, Andrew Ryan who stars as Dame Betty Blumenthal. This year’s Theatre Royal production marks Andrew’s 31st pantomime, his 27th year as dame and his fourth appearance at the Theatre Royal Nottingham having previously appeared in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 2014, Aladdin with Stephen Mulhern in 2010, and Jack and the Beanstalkwith Nigel Havers in 2009. Andrew delights audiences every Christmas with his quick-fire comedy, hilarious dance routines, and outrageous costumes which he designs and creates himself. Andrew will also direct this year’s pantomime.
Beauty and the Beast will once again be staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, and the company behind the Theatre Royal’s annual pantomime every year since 2008. In a production packed full of sensational special effects, a magical 3D sequence, beautiful costumes, music, comedy, dancing, and audience participation; Nottingham audiences should book their tickets now for this year’s spell-binding pantomime.