Published: 10:29, 16 April 2012
Singer Gareth Gates and pop legend Toyah Willcox will be the star acts at this year’s Marlowe Theatre pantomime, Sleeping Beauty.
After finishing runner-up to Will Young in Pop Idol in 2002, Gates went on to sell 3.5 million records with No1 hits such as Unchained Melody and Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake).
After a stint on Dancing On Ice in 2008, Gates – who will play the Prince – has performed in musicals Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables, both on the 25th anniversary tour and in the West End.
A veteran of six Marlowe Theatre pantomimes, punk princess Willcox has had 13 top 40 singles and released 22 studio albums in her 30 year career. Set to play the Wicked Fairy, she has also presented TV shows The Good Sex Guide Late, Watchdog and Songs of Praise.
Joining them are Marlowe favourite Ben Roddy and Katrina Bryan, better known as Nina from the CBeebies series Nina and the Neurons.
Producer Paul Hendy said: "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."
Last year’s pantomime Cinderella – the first at the new Marlowe Theatre – was seen by a record breaking 83,000 people.
Sleeping Beauty will run at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, January 20, 2013. Box Office 01227 787787 or visit www.marlowetheatre.com