A beautiful 18th century country house, a glittering coach and two white horses set the scene for the launch of Cinderella, this year’s pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Brian Conley and Gok Wan joined beautiful Lauren Hall to meet the press at Chicheley Hall and as they have all worked together before, it was a day of fun and laughter.
Brian, who has starred on television, in musical theatre, in many pantomimes and on this series of Strictly Come Dancing, will play Buttons, and said: “I love Gok. I can understand why ladies take their clothes off for him . This is our third pantomime together, it’s very much Christmas when I’m with Gok.”
Lauren, who plays Cinderella, added: “We are going to have fun backstage. Gok and Brian always have a fight over whose dressing room will become the social hub. It’s like a bromance they have, it’s hilarious, they get on so well.”
Cinderella of course is the most magical pantomime of all and Lauren, who has been in many musicals including Jersey Boys, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Legally Blonde, has played the part three times previously.
She said: “I enjoy the role because she is a normal person who becomes a princess. She is down to earth, you can relate to her.”
On stage Lauren will be joined by her real life husband Matt Malthouse, who plays Dandini, as well as Matthew Goodgame who plays her love interest Prince Charming.
She said: “I got married last year and Gok came to the wedding. He offered to chose my dress for me but it was something I wanted to do with my mum. My husband and I are so lucky to be working together at Christmas. “
Lauren is from Newcastle and her parents are bringing a coach load of people down south to see the panto. Now Lauren lives in London but during the run of the pantomime she will be living in an apartment in Milton Keynes.
She said: “I will be sharing it with my own Prince Charming and also my onstage Prince Charming.”
Brian, who lives in Windsor, will also be staying in an apartment in MK during the run of the show.
He said: “I have to stay near the theatre, you can’t risk the traffic holding you up. And I prefer an apartment to an hotel because I like making a cup of tea. It’s important to get enough rest and conserve your energy. Gok can survive on five hours sleep a night, but I can’t do that. There is a wonderful repertoire between us. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella and we’ve put as much comedy in as we can. Comedy drives a panto.”
Bran said that with his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing this year it’s a given that he will be singing and dancing in the panto, and will most likely combine elements from all the dances he has learned to make one big spectacular sequence.
He likened Strictly to panto, and said: “With all the costumes and it’s a good family show like panto, that everyone can sit down and watch together.”
A stalwart of pantomime, this is Brian’s 20th Cinderella and he said: “My favourite part about panto is the kids. I like keeping it visual and talking to the audience. In no way is it rude. There is a pathos in this panto too, when Cinderella says she loves me but only as a brother.”
Fashionista and television presenter Gok, who rose to fame with his Channel 4 series How To Look Good Naked, and who was unable to stay for a chat after the photocall, will play the Fairy Gokmother.
Cinderella is on at Milton Keynes Theatre from Saturday December 9 to Sunday January 14 2018. Tickets cost from £14, box office 0844 871 7652 or book online at www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes