This week saw the press launch of one of Worthing’s traditional family pantomimes, Sleeping Beauty, which stars pianist, songwriter, actor and TV presenter Bobby Crush, Hi-De-Hi’s Nikki Kelly and Superstar’s “11th Man” Jon Moses.


The Connaught Theatre is the venue for the magical tale of Princess Aurora, who falls asleep for a hundred years because of a scorned fairy’s evil ways. Following another hugely successful season as the leading female vocalist in Cromer Pavilion’s Summer Special variety show, Sophie Bloom will take to the stage as Aurora – her third pantomime appearance for producers, Paul Holman Associates.


She is joined in the cast by Helen Peters, who makes her panto debut as the Lilac Fairy, and by comedian and impressionist Tony Rudd as Muddles, who will no doubt treat the Worthing audiences to many of the most famous voices in his repertoire, like Ozzy Osbourne, Rolf Harris, Louie Spence and even X-Factor voiceover man, Peter Dickson.


Nikki Kelly is most famous for appearing in eight series of the smash hit holiday camp comedy Hi-De-Hi for the BBC, as the long legged, short shorted, yellow coat Sylvia but this Christmas will see her swap the Maplins uniform for something much darker as she stars as the evil Fairy Carabosse.


Celebrating 40 years in showbusiness this year is six times Opportunity Knocks winner, and one of the country’s top pantomime dames, Bobby Crush who will be showcasing his extensive wardrobe of enormous and colourful frocks as he introduces Worthing audiences to Nurse Katy Cough-Drop.  


Best known as one of the finalists in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ITV show, Superstar, Jon Moses will be making his panto debut as Prince Valiant. At the launch I asked him;

How are you feeling about treading the boards this Christmas?

I’m really, really, excited about it, and about working with some great people. It’s a first for me to be doing a panto, it’s probably the only thing left that’s virginal about me, especially coming from the North East!


I came down to Worthing yesterday to have a look around and it’s just absolutely beautiful. I had a mooch around, trying to cause some mischief on my own, and I think that the most exciting thing that I saw was an old lady walking her dog on the pier. Back home I live just down the road from the seaside at Hartlepool and I’m sure that Worthing will be a great home-away-from-home this Christmas


You’ll be working with some great people too.

Working with Bobby will be brilliant. As soon as I met him I could see that he’s got one of those infectious smiles, and he’s just hilarious. I was with him when he was getting all the Dame gear on and he tells me that he’s got something like 12 or 13 costumes that he will change into in the show.


I’m sure that you’ll get your share of the costumes as well.

Do you know what, I don’t actually know what I’m going to be wearing just yet but I do know that I’ve got some oversized swords and weapons that I have to take control of on the stage. I have seen a sneak preview of what the show will look like and it’s going to be outstanding.


I know that the singing won’t be an issue for you but, last time we spoke you were unsure about the dancing. Have you blown away the cobwebs yet?

Ha ha, oh yes, I’ve got my step click under control and I can do a great grapevine! Seriously though, do you know what, I’m not actually a bad mover. You didn’t really get to see it on Superstar, but I have done productions before where I’ve had to do full on song and dance routines – but that was a few years ago when I was a bit more nimble. If all else fails I’ll just break into the Macarena., I know that one!


I’m sure the audience would join in. 

You know, that’s what I’m looking forward to most because, as you know, my background was coming from the holiday camps and hotels and things like that and I was really used to interacting with audiences, and with the kids, and, being able to do that again at Christmas will be just fantastic.


Sleeping Beauty can be seen at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing from 7 Dec 2012 – 5 Jan 2013.