Cast of Theatre Severn panto unveiled as 25,000 tickets already sold

"Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough..."

Katy Dean, Phil Stewart, Brad Fitt as Mrs Smee, Eric Smith, Harry Winchester and Victoria McCabe are raring to go at Theatre Severn
Katy Dean, Phil Stewart, Brad Fitt as Mrs Smee, Eric Smith, Harry Winchester and Victoria McCabe are raring to go at Theatre Severn

It may be one of the most famous lines in Peter Pan, but actors, producers and pantomime-loving theatre-goers may have felt like they've been wishing forever.

However panto season is nearly back again after being interrupted by the Covid pandemic last year, and excitement is building after the unveiling of the cast of The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan at Theatre Severn.

Stalwart of Shrewsbury panto Brad Fitt is back again as the star attraction as Mrs Smee. He will be joined on stage by former BBC Shropshire presenter Eric Smith as Eric the Pirate. Victoria McCabe, who has previously starred in Mother Goose and Aladdin in Shrewsbury, will play Elizabeth Darling.

Harry Winchester and Phil Stewart will play Peter Pan and Captain Hook, while Katy Dean and Millie Davies make their debuts at the theatre as Mrs Darling and Tinkerbell.

Panto fans have already been feverishly snapping up tickets. The theatre revealed 25,000 have already been sold.

Katy Dean as Wendy Darling, Brad Fitt and Mrs Smee and pirate Eric Smith

The producer is Shropshire lad Paul Hendy, who was full of excitement to return when he spoke to the Shropshire Star.

Paul, who is now based down south but enjoyed catching up with family and old pals on his latest trip home to the county, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. I think now more than ever, people need pantomime. They want pantomime.

"It's something for the whole family. You sometimes get three or four generations of the same family together.

"To get together this Christmas will mean so much. It will be exciting and emotional."

He added: "I want to make it funny. People really need a good laugh.

"I'm still writing the script at the moment. It is the Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan, so it's a bit different to usual. But it'll be a lot of fun."

Former TV presenter Paul, who was on hit shows Don't Try This At Home and Wheel of Fortune before going on to be a successful writer and producer of stage shows with his company Evolution Productions, told of the challenges the pandemic had thrown up, but was grateful to be back.

"It was a bit of a nightmare," he said. "We were producing ten shows last year and not one survived. Only five ended up going into production, only two opened and then they both closed.

Phil Stewart as Captain Hook and Harry Winchester as Peter Pan

"It was tough but we managed to survive. Fortunately we received some help from the Culture Recovery Fund and thankfully, we didn't have to make any people redundant."

On bringing several familiar faces back to Shrewsbury for this year's show, he said: "I like that feeling. You want something new and exciting, but it's also nice to have that feeling of familiarity.

"We want to make it big and spectacular. I want people to know we're back."

A glammed up Brad Fitt was in typically cheeky form. "It'll be much of the same this year... same jokes, different frock, different tights," he said.

"It'll be my tenth year here. I'm really looking forward to being back. It's been a long break.

"It will be nice to come back and see people again. I feel like I missed them last year. You get to know certain people in the audience.

"You look and remember 'oh, there's that family who always come on Boxing Day', or 'there's the bloke who sits at the front who I always take the Mick out of'.

"I got a lot of messages last year from people who come along. Some people have been coming with their kids for years, and they've had a picture with me from the ages of four to 13. But last year they didn't get their picture. It will be nice to see them all again."

The show opens on Wednesday, December 1, and runs to Monday, January 3. To book your tickets, call the theatre's box office on 01743 281281 or visit theatresevern.co.uk

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