Potteries entertainer Jonathan Wilkes is putting the final touches to his latest panto production - which he says will be the best yet.The popular performer is working with scriptwriter, former Coronation Street star Eric Potts, to add local touches to the Regent Theatre's production of Cinderella before rehearsals start next month.
And at the star-studded panto launch party yesterday, Jonathan hinted at possible cameo appearances by celebrity best friend Robbie Williams and Geordie duo Ant and Dec.
With a cast including former Dinnerladies and Coronation Street star Shobna Gulati, and West End sensation Louise Dearman, Jonathan says audiences can expect the "best panto Stoke-on-Trent has ever seen".He said: "This year we have the best cast and the story is even better."I'm looking forward to starting rehearsals."I'm working on getting local issues in the script; I like to be very hands-on."
I want Stoke to be the number one panto venue in the country and we're getting there."He added: "Robbie is not busy at the moment so you never know - he might come along this year and we might get a couple of Geordies along too."New cast member Shobna says she is looking forward to having a "good laugh" during the panto's run.She said: "I've heard great things about this company and I think it's going to be fantastic."
Ticket sales for Cinderella - which runs from December 13 to January 13 - are already 55 per cent up on the same time last year.Last year's Aladdin production became the Regent Theatre's biggest-selling show yet, with an average audience of 1,200 for each performance, and Cinderella looks set to smash the record again.Kevin Wood, of show producers Family First Entertainment, said: "
The Stoke-on-Trent pantomime is emerging as one of the leading shows in the country."The audiences are always phenomenal and the theatre has a magical atmosphere."Cinderella will be spectacular and Eric's script is written especially for the people of Stoke-on-Trent."The show promises "dazzling sets and costumes, slapstick comedy, sensational songs, spellbinding dance routines and loads of audience participation".
And another special guest could turn up on stage - Jonathan's 17-month-old son Mickey.Jonathan, who will play loveable rogue Buttons, said: "It looks like Mickey is following in my footsteps."He's very funny and a little star."
Tickets for the show range from £11 to £20, and a £1 early-bird saving is available if tickets are booked and paid for before September 28.To book, call the box office on 0870 0606649.Are you looking forward to seeing the Regent panto this year?