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Breaking the panto ice

Vanilla Ice will star as Captain Hook in Peter Pan
Vanilla Ice will star as Captain Hook in Peter Pan

A few weeks ago, American rapper Vanilla Ice had no idea what a pantomime was, now he’s taking centre stage at a Kent theatre. Rebecca Hughes found out more.

Fresh off a flight after finishing filming his latest real estate series and with a Hollywood movie due out next year, Vanilla Ice is still on American time and in American clothes.

The rapper, whose real name is Rob Van Winkle, steps out in sunglasses, a T-shirt, and his signature baseball cap saying: “It’s not cold here? Wow.”

The rapper is in Kent ahead of his first pantomime, where he will play Captain Hook in Peter Pan at Chatham’s Central Theatre.

“England is my second home but it’s definitely not the weather here that I like. I’m from south Florida and we have the greatest weather in the world but it’s something about the people here – they make it more fun so I’m super pumped to be here,” said the 44-year-old.

The star, who admits when we speak that he hasn’t even finished reading the script yet, says it will be the best pantomime ever, even though a few months ago he didn’t even know what one was.

“I had never even heard of a pantomime before and everyone in the US thinks I’m doing a silent mime but a couple of people on Dancing on Ice said I’d love it.

“I’m only halfway through the script so far but I’m sure there’s going to be some rapping and flying and some spectacular moments in this show and I plan on definitely putting my own touch to the whole thing. It’s going to be the best panto ever.”

Ice is also expecting a few famous faces to make an appearance in the audience after Jedward announced they’d be going.

Vanilla Ice will star as Captain Hook in Peter Pan
Vanilla Ice will star as Captain Hook in Peter Pan

“Jedward are definitely coming. They’re awesome and a ball of fun. When I met them they were like: “Man, two weeks ago we didn’t know how to sing” and you just laugh with them.

“Adam Sandler is a good friend of mine and said he was coming over to see the show – he could be kidding but he could be for real, so I’m going to let Adam know that I’m two shows a day, buddy – so come on down.”

Jedward may come to see Vanilla Ice in Kent
Jedward may come to see Vanilla Ice in Kent

Ice is also expecting to hook in his army of fans and get them to take the trip to Medway.

“There are a lot of fans coming out here from everywhere – and I mean everywhere. They’re not just in this area, not just from London, they’re coming from Manchester, Liverpool, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and even Europe.

“They’re so rallied up to see me do this part that I’m kind of shocked but I love all these little adventures.”

After the show finishes, Ice said he could be staying in England to make a cameo appearance on Dancing on Ice after show bosses have invited him back for the tour.

He said: “When I found out about Dancing on Ice, I hadn’t heard of it before and I was like, 'no way I can’t ice skate’ but the show turned out to be an amazing adventure and I will remember it forever. I’m hoping this little Captain Hook thing is going to be fun too.”

Peter Pan is at the Central Theatre, Chatham until New Year’s Eve. Tickets £12. To book, phone 01634 338338 or visitwww.medwayticketslive.co.uk

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