Stag's panto in Sevenoaks enjoys record-breaking run
THE panto in Sevenoaks has exceeded all expectations by smashing through the £250,000 barrier.
Aladdin, starring Boyzone's Shane Lynch, has played to record audiences at the Stag since it launched on December 8.
With just a handful of performances to go until the run finishes on Sunday, producers expect the attendance figure to break the 18,000 mark.
The Chronicle-sponsored show is the first in the Stag's history to pull in box-office receipts of more than a quarter of a million.
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Among those to have seen the classic story were TV stars Davina McCall and Cheryl Baker and Olympian Sebastian Prieto.
After seeing one of the first show, Ms McCall tweeted: "Best panto ever at the Stag in Sevenoaks." Show producer Jamie Alexander Wilson was delighted that the panto was a record-breaker.
He said "We work alongside the theatre staff every Christmas to make sure each year's pantomime is better than the last.
"It's great to see the Stag being so successful, with packed houses at every performance.
"It's also great to see the restaurants and bars full before and after performances – I think the Stag and the pantomime play a key part in the economic success of the town as a whole."
A spin-off from the show is the Panto Factor, where unknowns are auditioned for a leading part.
This year leads Drew Levi-Huntsman and Lucy Reed (Aladdin and Princess) were plucked from obscurity by judges including Chronicle editor Roger Kasper and BBC1 The Voice's semi-finalist Jaz Ellington.
It was during the talent hunt in September that it emerged Twist and Pulse from Britain's Got Talent had pulled out of the run.
Pineapple Dance Studios' Andrew Stone was slotted in, to join Silly Billy (Ant Payne), Widow Twanky (Robert Pearce), genie Jasette Amos and emperor Tony Haygarth in the show.
Shane Lynch said: "It's been a real pleasure working with all the cast and crew – eight years of panto and this one has by far been the most enjoyable.
"Thank you to the people of Sevenoaks and the surrounding towns for giving us a great panto run."
Andrew Eyre, General Manager of the Stag said "The Stag's partnership with Magic Beans continues to be exceptional and shows that high quality entertainment will produce commercial audiences for regional theatres.
"This matches the near sell-out Calendar Girls and the sell-out comedy night at the Stag on New Year's Eve.
"The Stag continues to thrive and we look forward to 2013.
"As the economic situation nationally continues to bite, many more people now see their local town as the source of good family value and good-quality nights out at the Stag Theatre, the Stag Cinemas or the many excellent restaurants in Sevenoaks."
To book last-minute tickets, visit www.sevenoakspanto.com