Gareth Gates & Toyah Wilcox to star in Sleeping Beauty at Marlowe Theatre


Gareth Gates and Toyah Willcox are the stars of this year’s Marlowe Theatre pantomime, Sleeping Beauty.
Joining them are Katrina Bryan, better known as Nina from the CBeebies series Nina and the Neurons, and, making a welcome return, Ben Roddy.

Gareth, who will play the Prince, was famously the runner-up to Will Young in the UK’s first Pop Idol in 2002. Instead of disappearing into “pop oblivion”, he carved out a successful career, selling millions of records, releasing three albums and having four UK number one singles.

A stint on Dancing on Ice in 2008 prompted Gareth to change musical direction and he went on to take the lead role in Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He has since appeared in Les Miserables, both on the 25th anniversary tour and in the West End.

Gareth took a break from acting last year, playing clubs, theatres and festivals, and then made a TV documentary showing the struggle faced by people with a stammer: he battled with his speech for years until he enrolled on the life-changing McGuire programme. He is currently starring in Momentous Musicals.

Former punk princess Toyah appeared in six productions at the old Marlowe and is delighted to be returning to the new venue, where she will play the Wicked Fairy. Charismatic, outspoken and impossible to categorise, she is one of Britain’s iconic household names – an award-winning rock legend as well as a much-loved actress and music composer.

In a career spanning 32 years, Toyah has had 13 top 40 singles, recorded more than 20 albumns, written two books, appeared in more than 40 stage plays, made 10 feature films and presented such diverse TV programmes as The Good Sex Guide Late, Watchdog and Songs of Praise.

Evolution Productions are the creative team behind Sleeping Beauty, and Paul Hendy is the writer and director. Last year’s production of Cinderella was seen by a record-breaking number of people (more than 83,000) and Paul believes this year’s show will prove just as successful:

“Over the past few years, we have built a reputation for casting highly-talented performers, and Sleeping Beauty is no exception. In fact, they are all top quality – our leading man Gareth has an incredible voice and Toyah has to be the best female pantomime artist in the country.
“All the cast are going to be a joy to work with and, more importantly, a joy to watch.”

Although she is best known as the quirky scientist Nina (and has just finished filming the seventh season of the BAFTA-winning programme), Katrina is a regular on TV, most notably the Taggart series. She has many theatre credits to her name, all in Scotland, and Sleeping Beauty is her first panto “south of the border”. She will play the Good Fairy.

Ben Roddy has made something of a name for himself, along with a legion of fans, as the funnyman in three previous pantomimes at The Marlowe, including Dandini in Cinderella. This time, he takes on the role of the Dame.

Completing the Sleeping Beauty line-up is Kent-born Lloyd Hollett as the Storyteller. Multi-talented Lloyd is an actor/vocalist/comedian, who also writes, produces and directs! This is Lloyd’s second Marlowe pantomime.

Sleeping Beauty is actress Faye Brookes, who was appearing in an Evolution pantomime four years ago when she was spotted by an agent and who has since appeared in Grease in the West End. She will be in Canterbury in June when she stars as Miss Elle Woods in the first UK tour of Legally Blonde.
Sleeping Beauty is at The Marlowe Theatre from 30 November to 20 January 2013. To book tickets, call the Box Office on 01227 787787 or go to marlowetheatre.com

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