VIDEO: Capitol panto stars arrive in Horsham to promote Sleeping Beauty

The cast of this year’s Horsham pantomime brought a little early festive magic to The Capitol today (Monday, 0ctober 8).

Natasha Hoeberigs (Princess Aurora), Nicola Hume (Fairy Good Heart), Hywel Dowsell (Nurse Nora), James Fletcher (Lester the Jester), Nicole Faraday (Carabosse), James Dinsmore (King Joe) and Ben Ofoedu (Herman the Henchman) were all at the venue for the press launch of the spellbinding Christmas show, Sleeping Beauty.

From left: James Fletcher, Hywel Dowsell, James Dinsmore, Natasha Hoeberigs, Ben Ofoedu and Nicola Hume. Picture by Steve Robards, SR1827205

From left: James Fletcher, Hywel Dowsell, James Dinsmore, Natasha Hoeberigs, Ben Ofoedu and Nicola Hume. Picture by Steve Robards, SR1827205

The family production, which also stars Same Difference musician turned solo artist Sean Smith (Prince Rupert), will be at the theatre from Friday, December 14, to Sunday, January 6.

Nicola Hume, who lives in Horsham and is the female voice of Heart Breakfast, says she’s a big fan of the Capitol panto and watches it every year.

“What I like mostly is the fact that they’re original,” says Nicola, explaining that she admires the way producer (and Capitol general manager) Nick Mowat writes, directs and puts together a unique production each time.

“I love that,” she enthuses. “And I love how creative he can get. I think they’re fantastic shows.”

Ben Ofoedu, who had a string of hits with dance music stars Phats & Small and has starred in a variety of TV programmes with his other half Vanessa Feltz, is thrilled to be back.

He previously played the Genie of the lamp in the Capitol’s 2016 show Aladdin.

“Capitol Horsham is one of the best theatres I’ve performed in,” Ben says. “It’s probably one of the best theatres in the UK. It’s so beautiful, the crowd is lovely here, and when I got the call to come back I was straight here. I nearly started the panto when I got the call in April.”

“Vanessa Feltz always comes along to support me in panto and, the truth is, it’s just an excuse,” he continues, explaining that Vanessa is a huge panto fan and a real traditionalist when it comes to joining in with the routines.

But it may not be all good natured fun for Ben, as he’s actually playing a baddie this time around.

“I think that the hapless henchman Herman will be one of my challenging roles to date,” he says. “I’ve never really played the bad guy before, but hopefully it’s a bad guy with a bit of a twist.”

“Layers, I like layers,” Ben laughs. “So let’s hope that he’s bad on top but good underneath.”

One performer who certainly doesn’t have a problem playing a villain is Nicole Faraday who will be the Wicked Fairy Carabosse.

She played Dr Heather Lincoln in BBC’s Casualty and Veronica in ITV’s Emmerdale but perhaps her most memorable role is that of Snowball Merriman in ITV’s Bad Girls. On top of that notorious character, Nicole has played the Wicked Queen in Snow White eight times.

“It’s so much fun,” she says, when she’s asked what it’s like to be the pantomime villain. “You can really play with it, because obviously it’s aimed at children. Even though you’re evil, you’re kind of ‘funny evil’ and I enjoy the comedy that you can find within being evil, like stamping your feet and growling at the audience. And I love the audience interaction as well. I don’t think you’ve done a good job unless you get booed and heckled.”

Read our full interview with all of the cast members in this week’s West Sussex County Times (Thursday, October 11).

Tickets for Sleeping Beauty cost £23.50 (concessions £21.50). Family of four £80, group rate (10+) £18, Capitol Friends £20.50/£18.50). Call 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.

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