‘EastEnders’ star arrives in Retford for festive panto

The stars of the panto, 'Aladdin', from left, former 'EastEnders' star Ricky Groves, Lucy Rollason, Josephine Sherlock and Steven Hall.
The stars of the panto, 'Aladdin', from left, former 'EastEnders' star Ricky Groves, Lucy Rollason, Josephine Sherlock and Steven Hall.

A former star of ‘EastEnders’ has swapped Albert Square for Retford as he heads the cast for this year’s Christmas pantomime at the Majestic Theatre.

Ricky Groves, best known for his role as Gary in the long-running BBC TV soap, has even swapped the Queen Vic for Kings Coffee Shop, where has been seen doing a shift behind the counter in his panto costume!

Ricky Groves, as Abanazar, putting in a shift at King's Coffee Shop in Retford.

Ricky Groves, as Abanazar, putting in a shift at King's Coffee Shop in Retford.

Groves, who has also appeared on hit TV shows such as ‘Strictly Copme Dancing’ and ‘Celebrity Coach Trip’, plays one of the lead roles in a new production of ‘Aladdin’, which will be showing at the Majestic from January 4 to 6.

The Coronation Street theatre has again teamed up with north-west panto company, Trio Entertainment, to bring the much-loved, traditional story to the town.

And although the festive season might still be some way off, the all-star cast can’t wait to get started after paying a visit to Retford and touring the town centre.

Groves said: “I am really looking forward to appearing in ‘Aladdin’ as Abanazar. I have played him a number of times and I love the experience.

Widow Twankey, alias Steven Hall, out and about in Retford town centre.

Widow Twankey, alias Steven Hall, out and about in Retford town centre.

“I want to get back in the pantomime mood again and have lots of fun.”

Groves will be joined on stage by Steven Hall, a finalist in ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, who will be playing the lovable panto dame, Widow Twankey.

Hall said: “It was really nice to get into costume and go around the town, meeting everyone and promoting the panto. I love the Retford area and all the local coffee shops.”

The hilarious Stuart Earp, a firm favourite with local audiences for his fast-paced comedy, also stars in the title role of Aladdin. And he is joined by Lucy Rollason as Princess Jasmine, Josephine Sherlock as the Slave of the Ring and Kassie Malam as the Genie of the Lamp, along with dancers from the Retford-based DeBurnays Dance Centre.

Producer Kevin Brown said: “The theatre will be transformed into a wonderful space filled with magic carpets and panto fun.” Tickets can be booked now at the theatre or online.