All White on the night – Grange panto debut is a hit

STILL looking for one final fix of festive fun before the January blues kick in?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then allow yourselves to be tempted by a new addition to the pantomime circuit.

The decision to stage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Grange Arts Centre has gone down well with Oldham and Saddleworth audiences.

The show, by prolific pantomime producer, Anton Benson, concludes its successful run on Sunday, January 5 with a 2pm matinee.

And before the hard-working cast, including Lydgate-based panto stalwart, Jeffrey Longmore, packed up their wigs, costumes and props for a final time, the Independent caught up with two frontline stars.

Former B’Wiched singer Edele Lynch and one-time Britain’s Got Talent runner-up Ronan Parke played Wicked Queen Morgana and Prince Charming respectively.

Ronan Parke, left, and Edele Lynch

Both have been impressed by the venue and enthusiastic audiences.

“I have never seen a panto with a stage like this when you are so close and on the same level as the audience,” said Ronan.

“When I saw the theatre I thought they had made a massive mistake. But once the show started it only added to the atmosphere.

“If anything, the audience gets more involved because they are so close. Even the people at the back are fairly close because it is such an intimate venue.”

Edele added: “This has been my first time to Oldham and the audience have been really loud and up for it.

“As the Wicked Queen I give Snow White a poisoned apple and one kid shouted out ‘Can I have one?!”

Wirral-based Edele has relished her role as public enemy number one.

“When Anton contacted me I asked if he was looking for me to do Snow White,” she laughed.

“But no, it is the wicked queen which I do so well. Besides, I don’t really want to play Snow White either because I don’t think I would be that convincing.

“Singing is my thing but I love acting and I would really like to do some more.”

Ronan added: “Panto is a lot of fun. Every show is rewarding, especially when the youngsters leave so happy with big smiles on their faces. All you want to do is bring joy.”

Edele agreed: “Panto is enduring, it is easy and it is fool proof. You just sit back and allow the cast to entertain you and you will laugh.

“There is not that much amount of pressure on the cast because it is about having fun and a laugh. Even when you make a mistake the audience love to see that.

“So, you let you know you have made one and just carrying slagging yourself off. Everyone should go to a pantomime.”

If you want to catch one of the remaining performances, go online for tickets.

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