King's panto family welcomes new member

JUST as the Fairy Godmother promised Cinders, '˜You shall go to the ball,' so shall you go to The King's panto. Yes, it's that time again. Oh, no is isn't! Oh, yes it is!

And if you haven’t guessed by now, this year the regular cast are turning their attention to the most popular panto title of all time, Cinderella.

The classic rags to riches fairytale was the show that opened the King’s Theatre way back in 1906 and in the latest retelling, resident dame Allan Stewart dons a frock once again as Fairy May, panto legend Andy Gray returns as Buttons, and everyone’s favourite baddie Grant Stott is Hibernia Hardup, Cinderella’s very wicked stepmother.

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For veteran panto star Stewart, performing in his seventeenth consecutive panto at the King’s, Cinderella has a personal significance, “Cinderella holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first pantomime I ever did,” he recalls.

“I played Buttons in Cinderella at the Pavilion in Glasgow back in 1975, and before appearing in that show, I’d never even seen a panto never mind starred in one.

“That was the beginning for me though and I’ve never looked back.’

In the King’s panto this year, the comic trio will be joined by Gillian Parsons as Cinderella, James Darch as Prince Charming, Andrew Keay as Dandini and Maureen Carr and daughter of Andy Gray, Clare Gray, as wicked step-sisters Nicola and Ruth - see what they did there.

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River City star Gray is looking forward to performing in panto for the first time with his daughter. “I’m absolutely delighted to have Clare in the panto. She used to come to visit me during panto when she was wee and watch her daft Dad.”

On the prospect of joining her dad on stage, Clare says, ‘From some of my earliest memories I remember sitting in the wings watching my dad make people laugh and I was hooked from that moment on.

“I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps, although never in my dreams thought I would be performing alongside him.

“I’m more than thrilled to be a part of this year’s panto at The King’s”

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Stott, returning in his 20th consecutive King’s panto says, “I must be doing something right.”

Now one of the top three grossing pantomimes in the UK, Executive producer Michael Harrison says, “Edinburgh audiences love the comedy magic created on stage by Allan, Andy and Grant and we’re delighted to be giving them pantomime’s greatest title Cinderella to shine in this year.”

Cinderella, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, Saturday-21 January 2018, various times, £17-£34, 0131-529 6000