Panto bosses have cast a Bad Girl in a good role in Mansfield – and are hoping she will sprinkle some magic on the production.
Actress Rebecca Wheatley – best known for playing hospital receptionist Amy Howard in long-running TV show Casualty – has been cast in the annual pantomime at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre.
She will play the vegetable fairy in the production of Jack and the Beanstalk, alongside comedy actor Adam Moss, who wowed audiences as Smee in last year’s production of Peter Pan and is back as Silly Billy, and comedian and former Neighbours star Mark Little, who is playing baddie Fleshcreep.
Rebecca has also hosted Loose Women and The Wright Stuff, as well as appearing on the West End stage in musicals such as Bad Girls and Fame and enjoying chart success with top-10 hits Everlasting Love and Stay with me (Baby) in 1998 and 2000 respectively.
The 52-year-old said: “Acting, singing, presenting, it’s all telling stories and I love to tell stories.
“Panto is absolutely the one thing you have to do every Christmas, it’s tradition.
“There will be lots of surprises and the show will have heart, fun and games - I think we all need a bit of that.”
Mark, aged 57, said: “I like playing the baddie, but will be more nutty than scary. I want the kids to have banter with me without being terrified!”
Also joining the cast is cabaret star Craig Ansell, who is taking on the role of the traditional panto dame, as Dame Trott.
He joked: “Poisoned apples, rusty old lamps, ticking crocodiles and gargantuan beanstalks do not compare to two shows a day in heels – and Cinderella thought she had issues.”
New for this year’s show are 3D effects, “to bring certain aspects of the performance even closer to the audience”, with more than 33,000 pairs of 3D glasses on order for the production.
Andrew Tucker, cultural services manager at the theatre, said: “A major part of the magic of pantomime is to be found in the special effects. This is the first time our audiences will be wowed by 3D and we can’t wait to experience the excited reaction of our crowds.”
The pantomime opens on Saturday, December 2, and runs until Sunday, January 5.
Tickets are now on sale – with a “pay now save now” offer running until Saturday, August 26 – from www.mansfieldpalace.co.uk and 01623 633133.
A theatre spokesman said: “With more than 56 per cent of tickets already sold, we predict another near sell-out production.”