Curtain goes up on Sunderland Empire panto

SEASONAL FUN: Starring in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are Matt Lapinskas and Victoria Sera as the Prince and Snow White, Andrew Agnew as Muddles, Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen and the North East's very own Phillip Meeks as the Dame.

SEASONAL FUN: Starring in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are Matt Lapinskas and Victoria Sera as the Prince and Snow White, Andrew Agnew as Muddles, Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen and the North East's very own Phillip Meeks as the Dame.

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SEVEN dwarfs, three TV stars and one panto are set to wow Wearside audiences this Christmas.

Tonight the curtain will be raised on the Sunderland Empire’s annual festive offering.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs stars Hi-de-Hi’s Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen, Eastenders’ Matt Lapinskas as the Price and Cbeebies’ Andrew Agnew as Muddles.

Panto legend Su, who has appeared in 37 pantomimes, says she can’t wait to weave in some Mackem mentions, such as Pennywell and Jacky White’s market, when she plays the resident baddie.

“I like to make it as topical as I can, so I’ll be saying things like ‘oooh, I had a fantastic night in Pennywell last night,” said the actress and stage star. “And I want to go to a couple of clubs while I’m here and have a good bop.”

Among the cast of seven dwarfs is actress Laura Whitfield and her partner Nathan Phillips.

Though she has appeared in many pantomimes over the years, this one will be Laura’s first on her home stage.

The former St Anthony’s pupil, 24, said: “I’ve been doing this since I was 15 and my friends and family have travelled all over to see me, now they get to see me at home.”
Laura, who has appeared in a Harry Potter film and in C4 series Seven Dwarves, said: “I think the dwarfs are a special part of the show. Children are mesmerised by us, it’s not every day they get to see a dwarf.”

*Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at Sunderland Empire until January 4. Tickets priced £10 - £29.50 are on sale from the Box Office on High Street West, the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022 and online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.

To read a review of the panto log on to www.sunderlandecho.com tonight or see tomorrow’s Echo.