Eastbourne's Beast is back for Rapunzel pantomime

Lewes Roberts was our Prince Gallant and his hairy counterpart in the recent pantomime Beauty and the Beast at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre.
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Now he is back as tall handsome stranger Finn Strider in the venue’s Easter pantomime Rapunzel: A Tangled Hairy-tale running from Wednesday to Saturday, April 3-7. Tickets are £19 and under-16s £16 and are available from the box office on 01323 412000 or online www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk.

“Beauty and the Beast was my third panto and my first one at the Devonshire Park,” Lewes says, “and I loved it. I had a truly brilliant time there, and I have to say that the Devonshire Park is my favourite theatre I have ever performed in.

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"At the end of last year I was doing some Shakespeare in east London and I was talking to an actor who's been in the business for 40 years and he said that his favourite theatre was the Devonshire Park. People love it. It's a fantastic place. It has got the beautiful Matcham design that makes you feel that you are in somewhere really grand but it is also fairly intimate from the way that the stage comes out into the audience a little bit. It feels very grand but you've also got the audience at just arm’s length. And it was great to have the sea as well so close. I come from Brighton, and I always feel that I need to be anchored by the coast!

Rapunzel: Lewes Roberts (top) and fellow cast membersRapunzel: Lewes Roberts (top) and fellow cast members
Rapunzel: Lewes Roberts (top) and fellow cast members

“It was just a great time. You hear people saying with shows that there is always one rotten egg in the company and that if after a couple of weeks, you can't find out who that rotten egg is, then it is probably you! After a couple of weeks of the panto I couldn't find anyone who was a rotten egg so I was definitely thinking ‘Is it me? Is it me? Is it me!’ But then at the end we all got together and chatted and we all decided that there was something really quite special about the group of people that we had. It was just wonderful from start to finish.”

All of which means that Lewes is delighted to be back at the venue – this time with an Easter panto, just as he did last year: “This time last year we did The Little Mermaid in Eastbourne and apart from one of the company, it's entirely the same crew and cast and creative team and it has been that team for years so I think if anyone knows the shows that they've had then they will know what they're going to get. We had a wonderful time when we did the photo shoot for this. It's a year since we've seen some of the people but we just picked up immediately where we left off and I think given that, then this year is going to surpass everything that we managed to do last year, I am sure.”

As Lewes points out, pantomimes years ago used to continue until Easter so there's really nothing alien about the concept of panto at this time of year.

“And it fits really nicely in the Easter holidays. I think everyone is going to have a great time.”

Tickets for Rapunzel: A Tangled Hairy-tale are available from the venue.

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