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Cannon and Ball ready for Dick Whittington panto at Lincoln Theatre Royal

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

  • We're back: Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball with former Emmerdale star Peter Amory, who will be playing King Rat

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It will be all hands on deck for this year's panto at the Lincoln Theatre Royal, with iconic double act Cannon and Ball returning for their fourth season.

The slapstick comedy duo will be playing the roles of the Captain and his First Mate in a production of Dick Whittington, which runs from December 7 until January 13.

The pair said it was the support from Lincoln crowds which kept them coming back year after year.

"It's our fourth year doing panto in Lincoln and we love it, otherwise we wouldn't keep coming back," said Tommy Cannon.

"The experience is just an absolute joy from start to end.

"The panto is a very British tradition and it needs to keep going as long as possible.

"It's also a great way to get kids interested in the theatre because they really believe in the story and the characters, although we find it's the adults that shout out just as much as the kids do."

This year Cannon and Ball are also celebrating their 50th year as a double act, making them one of the longest running acts in showbiz.

But despite their experience, the pair admit they still suffer from pre-stage jitters before the curtain rises.

"We're still together and we can still stand each other – just about," joked Bobby Ball.

"We don't get the nerves quite like we used to but there can be a bit of apprehension.

"But once we hear that first reaction from the crowd it really gets us going.

"As long as Lincoln keeps wanting us, we'll keep coming back.

"We'll be doing a couple of classic Cannon and Ball sketches from the TV days but it's been so long since we've done some of them that they're going to feel completely new.

"We'll also be writing some new material for the show and we try to make it different and topical each night. It was brilliant for us when they cancelled the Christmas market because there was lots of material."

They will be joined in the cast by Nicola Weeks, playing Dick Whittington, Steve Barclay, as Sarah the Cook, and soap-opera bad boy Peter Amory, who will take to the stage as the villainous King Rat.

"He's not a nice character, but I prefer playing the baddies," said Amory, best-known as Chris Tate from ITV's Emmerdale.

"They're far more interesting but they always lose in the end, so I try not to take it all to heart.

"It's going to be my first panto in Lincoln and I'm really looking forward to spending Christmas here. I'm in love with the place."

Ian Dickens, Lincoln Theatre Royal's artistic director, urged people to buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

He said: "The panto is selling very well and we've sold roughly 5,000 tickets already.

"Panto is the first thing you ever see in the theatre so we have a duty to create something that's right for children.

"The biggest problem in theatre at the moment is getting young people in.

"But this theatre has always had a great tradition with its panto and we want to keep that going."

Tickets for Dick Whittington are on sale now. For more, visit www.lincolntheatreroyal.com or call 01522 519999.

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  • derek65  |  October 22 2012, 10:11PM

    Can you put a cost on having a good laugh.We are doing our 3rd year at the panto and taking my god-daughters 3 children.We are friends with Bobby and Tommy but the main reason we go is for a good night out and a guaranteed laugh.We travel 45 miles to do this but it is well worth it.Just check how much it is to buy 1 ticket for John Bishop and you will realise how cheap it is.

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  • camelherder  |  October 19 2012, 7:12PM

    I used to say "Oh no not Cannon and Ball again" but as a birthday present for the grandson 6 of us went last year aged 5 - 90 and we all laughed, even me. Lynn you are right very funny without being distasteful.

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  • lynnlincoln  |  October 19 2012, 3:44PM

    Lincolnpixie - I agree it's not a 'cheap do'. Last year I went to one in Colchester, four adults, one child aged two, and one child aged sixteen months and it was over £100, there were no known names in it either, all amateurs, but it was excellent. Usually you have to go for a meal, just to round things off. I have always loved Cannon and Ball, funny without having to resort to smutty.

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  • Lincolnpixie  |  October 19 2012, 1:31PM

    We always try to go, its prt of our Christmas traditions and cannon and ball are exceptional in it. Just a shame how much it cost to go. It will cost my family of 6 about £100. That's a lot for any family in the lead up to Christmas!

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