Singer and actor David Essex is the virtual star of a family pantomime playing in Brighton over Christmas this year.
The 1970s pop star will appear on an LED video wall as Baron Hardup in Cinderella at the Hilton Brighton Metropole from Friday 22 December to Wednesday 27 December.
And he will be joined by a string of West End performers including Joseph Peters and Alasdair Buchan.
The cast also includes a number of Brighton personalities. They include David Hill as one of the ugly sisters, Lou Nash and Alex Baker from Juice 107.2 and Dean Kilford from Latest TV and BBC Sussex playing Buttons. Keris Lea will play the Fairy Godmother.
Cinderella is the brainchild of Hill who “fell into” pantomime in 2001 while sharing a flat with the comedian and novelist Julian Clary.
He said that his travel business was in difficulty after the 9/11 terror attack because people were afraid to fly.
Mr Clary suggested that he audition and Mr Hill found a second career as a pantomime dame.
A countywide search for Cinders was mounted a month ago resulting in 300 applicants.
The show’s writer and co-producer Tim Newman said: “Hannah Bailey, who will be playing Cinderella, offers us everything we were hoping for in this part and I know that every young girl in the audience will fall in love with her.
“I’m not sure what Hannah is more excited about, playing Cinders or having David Essex as her father in the show!”
Cinderella is being produced by Brighton Premiere which is a collaboration of event company E3 and the Brighton Academy of Performing Arts.
The show will be directed by Mr Newman and Stuart Dawes from the academy.
Mr Newman said: “It is so important to have children in mind. Like Pixar, the pantomime should be enjoyable for kids and parents.”
Ticket holders will enjoy free entry to a Christmas Fayre with food, dodgems, face painting, charity stalls and a chance to meet Santa.
Each performance will raise money for the three biggest children’s charities in Sussex – the Chailey Heritage Foundation, Chestnut Tree House and Rockinghorse.
Juice 107.2 is the pantomime’s headline sponsor. Others include Sussex Life, Visit Brighton, Hilton Brighton Metropole, Oliver and Graimes, Donatello, City Cabs, Glencairn Consulting, E3, Brighton Academy and McKenzie Associates.
Cinderella will run twice daily from Friday 22 December until Wednesday 27 December with no shows on Christmas Day.
Tickets cost from £10 (restricted view) to £22.50 (premiere) and are available online at brightonfamilypanto.com.
For more articles by Roz Scott, visit www.RozScott.com.