Brian Conley and Lynda Bellingham, the stars of this year’s Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime, paid an early visit to Birmingham to officially launch the theatre’s spectacular Christmas show, a brand new production of Cinderella. They arrived at the home of Britain’s biggest pantomime in Cinderella’s coach and ponies, together with an early dusting of snow, to issue an invitation for everyone to attend the Ball this Festive Season!
Brian Conley, one of Britain’s most-popular entertainers and the country’s most sought after pantomime star, returns to Birmingham Hippodrome in the role of Buttons which marks Brian’s fifth pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome. Brian has recently finished touring the UK in Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation and has starred in the West End and touring production of Hairspray, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (both of which he played at the Hippodrome) and portrayed Jolson in the Olivier award-winning hit musical of the same name in London and at Birmingham Hippodrome.
On television he has enjoyed phenomenal success on programmes such as Let Me Entertain You, Dirty Rotten Cheater and the hugely-successful The Brian Conley Show and Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous. He has guest-hosted The Paul O’Grady Show on a number of occasions and has also appeared on several Royal Variety Performances as well as Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Loose Women and recently on The 5 O’Clock Show and The Michael Ball Show.
Joining Brian on stage is Lynda Bellingham who plays the role of Fairy Godmother. Lynda has enjoyed a rich acting career spanning 40 years, with highlights including her roles as Helen Herriot in All Things Great and Small and Faith Grayshott in Second Thoughts and Faith in the Future. As well as her regular appearances on Loose Women, Lynda performed in Calendar Girls both for the national tour and in the West End.
This year’s pantomime also stars an icon of children’s television and the world’s most famous fox - Basil Brush, in the role of Baron Basil - Boom, Boom! Since making his screen debut in the 1960s, Basil has appeared on numerous television programmes including Blue Peter, The Weakest Link and French and Saunders, and has hosted numerous series of his own shows.
The story of Cinderella, the most popular panto of them all, wouldn’t be complete without two ugly-sisters, and they don’t come any uglier than David Robbins and Martin Ramsdin! Together they have one of the largest and most lavish wardrobes in pantoland - with at least 10 costume changes each per performance!
Staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, Cinderella is written and directed by Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment’s pantomime division.
“We are thrilled that Brian is returning to the Hippodrome stage once again in this brand new version of Cinderella and delighted that he will be joined by Lynda, Basil and an outstanding cast in a lavish and unmissable production of the most popular pantomime tale of them all,” says Michael.
He added “No staging of the enchanting tale of Cinderella would be complete without the magical transformation scene where Cinderella swaps her rags for a beautiful gown and heads to the Prince’s palace. To help the Fairy Godmother with her task we have a very special animatronic flying Pegasus which will transport Cinderella to the Ball in real style!” Michael added.
Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive, Birmingham Hippodrome said: “Brian Conley is one of the UK’s most popular entertainers who has over the years enjoyed several record-breaking pantomime seasons here. Incredibly popular with our audiences, he has made a huge contribution to making Birmingham Hippodrome the home of the UK’s biggest pantomime.”
Cinderella runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from Saturday 17 December 2011 to Sunday 29 January 2012. Tickets can be booked on 0844 338 5000 or online at http://www.birminghamhippordrome.com/ . Tickets are priced £11.50-£35. Performance times vary please enquire when booking. Sunday performances available. Calls vary from 5p per min. 5% transaction charge.