Dorset EchoBest panto ever at the Pavilion (From Dorset Echo)

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Best panto ever at the Pavilion

Dorset Echo: SPIRITUAL GUIDE: Derek Acorah SPIRITUAL GUIDE: Derek Acorah

THIS year's panto at Weymouth Pavilion has been hailed the best one yet.

The festive treat, which had former Neighbours star Eliza Taylor-Cotter in the title role, proved to be the most financially sound Christmas show for some time at the Pavilion - and the one that had the audience clamouring for more.

"Financially and theatrically, the panto was a huge success," said Pavilion spokeswoman Nicky Jenkins. "We were vastly improved on last year's figures and it was the first year with people writing in to say how much they enjoyed it and that it was the best one they had ever seen."

The cast, which included actor, writer, producer and former Big Brother housemate Paul Ferguson and Richard and Judy sidekick Mike McClean, also enjoyed their time in the resort.

The challenge was greatest for Eliza. Not only did the 18-year-old leave her family behind in Melbourne over the Christmas season, but Snow White was her first taste of live theatre - and she had never even seen a panto before!

The week before the curtain rose she said she was slightly freaked out' by the idea of starring in the show, adding: "So here I am, I've never seen a panto, I don't know anything about them and my first stage appearance is as the main character in one. I must be mad!"

But she soon got into the swing of things.

"She was nervous to start with but she soon became really happy and confident," said Nicky. "The reaction to the cast throughout the town was wonderful and there was no fuss or bother. All in all it was a fantastic family show for the festive season."

After the flurry of Christmas activity, the theatre is now enjoying a fairly quiet month with just three dates filled.

The award-winning Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are at the venue tonight with their traditional New Year Viennese Concert packed with polkas, waltzes and marches by the Strauss family.

The recital, which promises to be a fun and stylish way to start the year, is at 7.30pm and tickets cost between £9 and £18.

Weymouth Drama Club is back on stage later in the month with the panto Cinderella, which will run from Thursday to Saturday, January 24 to 26. Performances are at 7.30pm with a 2.30 matinee on the Saturday.

The final event of the month is an evening with world-renowned spiritualist medium Derek Acorah on Thursday, January 31.

The star of TV's Most Haunted will be on stage at 7.30pm and tickets are £17.

For all Pavilion bookings and details call 01305 783225.

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