Giant turnout expected for Croydon panto
Giant audiences will be turning out to this year’s pantomime at Fairfield Halls.
The bespoke production of Jack and the Beanstalk has sold more tickets than the Croydon theatre has ever seen for a pantomime at this time of year.
One huge reason for the success may be star Neil Fingleton, who has a tall order in his role as the first real giant the stage-show has ever seen.
Towering over fellow cast-members at a beanstalk-challenging 7ft 7in, Mr Fingleton is the tallest man in Europe.
He said: “Quite often in Jack and the Beanstalk, they use voice-overs or puppets. “People will be taken aback when they see a real actor as the giant, and it will be great for me to interact with the audience.
“I think I will be a bit of a gruff and mean giant, as opposed to a BFG. But hopefully the audience will like me at the end.”
Also featured in the star-studded cast is Laila Morse, best known for her character Big Mo Harris in Eastenders.
She said she is pleased to hear that so many tickets have already been sold in Croydon.
“The audience help to make the show, and I think it’s going to be great performing here,” she said.
Talking of her famous Eastenders character, Ms Morse added: “I expect I will sling a bit of Mo into my role as the fairy, she’s a likeable character.”
The pantomime was written and produced by TV personality Paul Hendy, along with his wife Emily Wood.
Mr Hendy, who also produced last year’s Aladdin at Fairfield Halls, said: “I am really thrilled to be producing here in Croydon for the second year.
“There are so many elements to a story like Jack and the Beanstalk, so I’m hoping to create a traditional panto with a contemporary twist, which appeals to all generations.”
Some of Mr Hendy’s secrets include Jack’s break-dancing cow, and a right soaking for one of the cast-members in every performance.
Stars joining Mr Fingleton and Ms Morse include former Flying Pickets singer-turned-actor Gareth Williams and CBeebies favourite Sid Sloane.
Jack and the Beanstalk, Fairfield Halls, Croydon, Friday, December 7 to Sunday, January 6. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 020 8688 9291 or at www.fairfield.co.uk, prices starting from £16.50.