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Preview: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Southport Arts Centre.

Byline: by Catherine Jones

IT'S panto time again.

Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is - in Southport at least.

While Cinders, Snow White, the seven dwarves and Peter Pan have all survived the Christmas rush and have hung up their costumes for a few months, Jack (of giant and beanstalk fame) is still going strong.

He will be appearing at the Southport Arts Centre over Easter.

The show, which promises slapstick and plenty of family fun, is produced by LHK Productions, run by producer/choreographer Lee Kelly.

"This is the third Easter panto we've done at Southport," he says. "I did the Neptune in Liverpool in previous years, before it closed, and these shows at Easter have had great success elsewhere in Merseyside."

The 28-year-old, who has been choreographing for a decade and added producing as another string to his bow three or four years ago, knows a thing or two about panto having most recently put Cilla Black, Jenny Ellison and Les Dennis through their paces in Cinderella at the Empire.

Lee says: "The first day when Cilla was filed for rehearsal, I was nervous as hell.

"But she's a legend and a legend to work with, she's a born professional and just gets on with her work.

"I remember going to see her in panto when I was about nine, and I wouldn't have believed it then if you'd told me I'd be choreographing her last panto."

Jack and the Beanstalk reunites Grease is the Word contenders Anthony Kavanagh and Wavertree's Alison Crawford as the panto's lovebirds Jack and Jill.

Before his appearance on the ITV show - whose judge David Gest is rumoured to be among those planning to see the panto - Anthony was a 90s popstar under the name Kavana.

He had a number one hit with the song I Can Make You Feel Good.

And Lee reveals: "He also beat Peter Andre in a Smash Hits poll winners poll one year!"

The cast also includes Big Brother 9 housemate Stephanie McMichael (who was thrown off Popstars: The Rivals in 2002 for being too young) from south Liverpool as the fairy.

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Southport Arts Centre in Lord Street from Wednesday, April 8 to Saturday, April 11.

Tickets, costing pounds 11 for adults and pounds 9 for under 16s from the box office on 0151-934 2141 or online at www.seftonarts.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 23, 2009
Words:402
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