It is that time of year again...oh yes it is. In Eastbourne Christmas begins in September when Chris Jordan writer and director of Devonshire Park Theatre’s annual pantomime launches his latest masterpiece.
Chris believes in traditional family entertainment and 2013 will see one of the best-loved pantomimes around, Aladdin.
“This year’s pantomime is very story-based, with fantastic music,proper singers and dancers instead of the latest sports stars or other celebrities of the moment,” he said.
This does not mean Eastbourne pantomime has no star names. On the contrary, playing the wicked Abanazaar is Shaun Williamson who played Barry Evans in EastEnders for ten years.
What soap fans do not realise is Shaun has a wonderful voice as he demonstrated at the launch when he sang an unrehearsed Bring Him Home from Les Miserables at the request of a member of the audience.
Shaun is no stranger to Eastbourne: “I used to work in The Dolphin Pub years ago,” he said.
“Before I became a Pontin’s Bluecoat where I did a lot of singing.”
He got into acting after friends encouraged him to take up amateur dramatics then at the age of 27 he went to the Webber Douglas
Drama School where he studied for three years.
“I was very lucky,” he said. “I got my agent while I was at drama school and he got me parts in The Bill and London’s Burning and six months after I left drama school I was cast as Barry.”
Barry met his death when he fell,or was pushed over a Scottish cliff by the evil Janine Butcher but he is nothing like the rather dull Barry, Shaun has a tremendous sense of humour.
“Actually I heard they were going to write about me having an affair with Pat Butcher so I jumped,” he said.
Shaun was in Eastbourne three years ago when he played Fletch in Porridge and he feels very honoured to have played the part.
“Only two people have ever been Fletch,” he said.
“Me and Ronnie Barker and although I copied him physically I did not try to follow his performance.”
Chris Jordan has promised a flying carpet, some amazing magical illusions and the best slapstick scene ever in the Chinese laundry.
He has also promised the scene where the cave is turned into jewels by Aladdin will be the most magical effect ever seen in the history of Devonshire Park.
Martyn Knight makes his 10th consecutive appearance as Widow Twankey while Tucker is back by popular demand as Wishee-Washey.
Bexhill born Charlene Ford is delighted to be playing Aladdin as it means she can be home for Christmas for the first time for several years.
Aladdin opens at Devonshire Park Theatre on December 13 and runs until January 12.
Tickets are on sale now. Call 01323 412000.