Just Grand: AJ and Curtis playing a starring role in theatre's return

Many a heart was a set a fluttering this week, as as Strictly and Love Island stars, brothers AJ and Curtis Pritchard, dropped in at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

AJ & Curtis Pritchard during their first visit to the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, where they will be starring in Cinderella
AJ & Curtis Pritchard during their first visit to the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, where they will be starring in Cinderella

The pair were plugging their appearance in this year's panto Cinderella, which is back as part of a rejuvenated post-lockdown Grand.

Ambitious and yet still incredibly humble and lovable, the brothers admit they would love to become known as the new Ant and Dec.

Presenting their own TV programme would be the dream, but before that, they have a whole host of entertainment in line for their fans, including appearing in Cinderella, which runs from December 4 to January 9.

The Grand always delivers an all-star cast and this year is no exception. AJ and Curtis will be taking on the roles of Prince Charming and Dandini. Expect flocks of fans at the stage door.

AJ and Curtis Pritchard visited Wolverhampton Grand Theatre where they will be starring in Cinderella later on this year

From their parents’ dancing school in Burleydam, near Whitchurch, to the heady heights of Strictly Come Dancing, I’m A Celebrity, Love Island and Dancing With The Stars, AJ and Curtis cannot wait to engage with their fans once more after the devastation of the last year and a half.

AJ said: “It is so nice to be looking forward to an actual live performance at last.”

Curtis continued, “It’s wonderful to be here and coming into a theatre for the first time. We are opening up – this is it.”

It is the lads’ first visit to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and they are impressed. “It is absolutely gorgeous,” said AJ. “We stood on stage and it feels as if wherever people are sitting in the theatre, you can engage with every single person in the auditorium; you are right there in front of them. It’s fantastic. You feel like you are walking in to a grand show.”

“We love working together and doing pantomime is something we’ve always wanted to do,” AJ continued.

“We have done everything together our entire lives, from dancing, to building dens in the back garden, to injuring ourselves together, so we are best friends as well as brothers. We can always fall back on each other too, which in our industry is very important. We are two completely different characters, but that works really well.”

Comedy is the key to their roles in Cinderella. Knowing each other inside out and being able to tune into each other helps of course, but interaction with the audience is also essential in panto. Their enthusiasm is infectious. AJ comes across as the sensible, grounded one and Curtis is full of mischief.

AJ says: “Being brothers, we don’t have to work too hard at the timing aspect. We can just tell when something is going to happen. Most of the time Curtis goes off on his own trail, which is always entertaining.

“He is very, shall we say 'responsive' to the audience. If Sharon in seat number three is eyeing Curtis up, he will make it lots of fun for the whole audience.

“Curtis is always running at 150 per cent, so you will be guaranteed the best show at every single performance, which means that there is no bad time to come and see us.”

Cinderella promises to be a spectacle. Curtis said: “There is a huge, live LED wall which brings a new dimension to the show. It’s a full on, next generation effect which will bring out a whole other aspect of the show and should impress young audiences and draw kids in even more so. It’s a great element to the show.”

AJ added: “The transformation from scene to scene is so dramatic, the detail on screen and the speed of the show is overwhelming. Before you know it, you will be at the interval. And to be dancing in front of a live audience on stage in a theatre again is just the best.”

Adrian Jackson, chief executive and artistic director of the Grand Theatre said; “We are thrilled to welcome AJ and Curtis. Between them, they will bring so much to the show with their infectious personalities and incredible dancing talent. They are such naturals on stage with undeniable showmanship, making them favourites with the whole family.

"This show will have something for everyone – think of a West End musical; that is the scale. The plans are dazzling and I am very excited that we are able to share our new panto.”

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