Pauline Collins and Sandi Toksvig will be taking to the Old Vic stage this Christmas in Stephen Fry’s pantomime Cinderella, leading a cast that also includes Madeleine Worrall, Paul Keating, Joseph Millson, Mark Lockyer, Hal Fowler, Debbie Chazen and Oliver Chopping.
Collins, who plays the Fairy Godmother, is most famous for playing Shirley Valentine in Willy Russell’s story, both on stage – in the West End and on Broadway, winning both a Laurence Olivier Award and a Tony – and on screen, in the 1989 film that earned her a Best Actress BAFTA. Collins has also appeared on the West End stage in Woman In Mind, Confusions, The Importance Of Being Earnest and Engaged. Her screen credits include Upstairs Downstairs, Paradise Road, City Of Joy and the recent BBC adaptation of Bleak House.
Comedian, presenter, actress and writer Toksvig plays the Narrator. An original member of the Comedy Store Players, Toksvig has appeared on the television shows Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Call My Bluff and Behind The Headlines, and radio comedy programmes The News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. She has written for television, radio and print, including several novels for children.
Worrall, who plays Cinderella, has London stage credits including Three Sisters at the Playhouse and The Villain’s Opera at the National. Keating, who takes on the role of Buttons, was recently in the West End playing Seymour in the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Little Shop Of Horrors. His previous credits include Don Carlos, The Full Monty and Closer To Heaven. The Ugly Sisters are played by Lockyer, recently seen in the Young Vic production of Vernon God Little, and Fowler, who appeared in the Open Air production of High Society. The role of Prince Charming is played by Millson, who was Benedick to Tamsin Greig’s Beatrice in the RSC production of Much Ado About Nothing last year. His other London stage credits include Pillars Of The Community at the National and Peter Hall’s production of As You Like It. The cast is completed by Chazen as the Queen, and Chopping as Dandini.
This is the first pantomime from the pen of presenter, writer, actor and all-round intellectual Fry. His version of the classic fairy tale about Cinderella, who is transformed from kitchen skivvy to belle of the ball by her Fairy Godmother, involves ‘laughter, cross-dressing, singing, shoes, envy, dancing and cake’. Fry commented: “Pantomime should be the beginning of a never-ending love affair with theatre. Oh yes it should.”
Cinderella is directed by Fiona Laird, with music by Anne Dudley. It plays at the Old Vic from 4 December-20 January (press night 9 Dec). em>CB