Panto time nears

Panto veterans (l-r) Phil Amato, Ian 'Sheepie' Smith and Jamie Bannerman give Melissa Davie a lift in her first professional role.
Panto veterans (l-r) Phil Amato, Ian 'Sheepie' Smith and Jamie Bannerman give Melissa Davie a lift in her first professional role.
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More than 10,000 tickets have already been sold for this year’s Motherwell Theatre pantomime as the cast met for the first time last week.

You are invited to tap your red shoes together and join Dorothy Gale and Toto as they travel along the yellow brick road to meet The Wizard of Oz which opens on Wednesday, November 20, and runs until Sunday, January 5.

From Spillers, the producers of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, The Wizard of Oz re-tells the much loved story of a Kansas girl and her dog as they experience an unforgettable adventure in Pantoland, with lots of laughs along the way.

The cast met for the first time last week to read through the script and take part in a photo shoots.

Back for another year is Motherwell’s favourite Ian ‘Sheepie’ Smith as The Scarecrow, while also returning from previous productions at the theatre are Jamie Bannerman as The Lion, and Phil Amato as The Tin Man.

Chole Webster and Natalie Toyne will be battling it out with broom and wand as the Good and Bad Witches, while Melissa Davie receives her first professional role as Dorothy, guided by the Wizard himself, Iain Wotherspoon.

In addition the theatre also held ‘X-Factor’ style dog auditions to find a real-life Toto.

‘Dorothy’ was joined by fourteen dogs eager for the role, or at least eager for the treats she was handing out, and through all the excitement (and barking) Lexi, Bella and Boo were chosen to alternate the task of bringing little Toto to life.

Audience development manager Clare Freckleton said: “We have a truly brilliant panto cast lined up this year, each fitting their characters perfectly and from the very first preview of the script, we know we’ve got a great show this year.”

Tickets costing £11-£14 are available from the box office on 01698 403120 or visit NLC entertainment.