We popped into the Rhyl Pavilion today for a quick chat with Basil Brush and Keith Chegwin before their first show of the Easter Panto, Beauty And The Beast.
Anton Benson Productions’ Beauty and the Beast pantomime is touring 12 venues across the UK in April 2017 and I was lucky to manage to get a chance to meet Basil, Keith and Quinn Patrick as Dame Dolly.
TV legend Keith Chegwin has reprised the role he created last Easter as he stars as ‘Jolly King Cheggers’, protecting his Kingdom of Ooh La La against the threat of the ferocious Beast and the Beast’s silly sidekick played by National treasure Basil Brush. Living in the Kingdom are Stevi Ritchie’s Wally and Olivia Birchenough’s Belle.
Keith Chegwin is one of the UK’s most popular TV personalities, now into his 44th year in show-business. His big break came at the age of 17 when he landed a presenting job on Saturday morning Children’s BBC programme SWAP SHOP before moving on to SATURDAY SUPERSTORE. He became an overnight sensation presenting the now legendary CHEGGERS PLAYS POP. Some of his career highlights include presenting STAR SEARCH for Sky TV, presenting the live outside broadcasts on THE BIG BREAKFAST between 1993 and 1995, SALE OF THE CENTURY and ROLL WITH IT for Challenge TV,
Some of his career highlights include presenting STAR SEARCH for Sky TV, presenting the live outside broadcasts on THE BIG BREAKFAST between 1993 and 1995, SALE OF THE CENTURY and ROLL WITH IT for Challenge TV, CHEGGERS CHALLENGE for the BBC, TOP 10 ANNOYING RECORDS for Channel 4, seven years on GMTV for ITV and of course the return of IT’S A KNOCKOUT for Channel 5. He made a much acclaimed appearance in the comedy series EXTRAS with Ricky Gervais and Orlando Bloom. Keith was a contestant and placed fourth in the 2015 series of CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER. He has also taken part in celebrity editions of MASTERCHEF, POINTLESS and THE CHASE.
Completing the cast is Scott Wright as the Beast, Quinn Patrick as Dame Dolly, Amy Forrest as the enchanting Fairy Tale and Michael Winsor as Claude. Juvenile dancers will be provided by local performing arts schools. All accompanied by our fantastic live musicians.
Belle lives a provincial life with her father Claude and her friends Wally and his mother Dame Dolly. When Claude gets held captive by the Beast, Belle agrees to trade places with him. Cue fun, frolics and madcap mayhem as Wally, Dolly and the King set out on a rescue mission aided by the mysterious narrator Fairy Tale.
Audiences can expect two and a half hours of toe-tapping song and dance, stunning costumes and fantastic sets with special effects all wrapped up in a hilarious laugh-a-minute script.
Producer Anton Benson said “A panto is for life and not just for Christmas. Our regulars love our annual Christmas shows and given how much of a hit our production of Beauty was with audiences last Easter we are delighted to be bringing it to further venues the year.”
Basil Brush is a star with an outstanding ability to make people of all ages laugh and smile. He’s cheeky, irreverent, charming, naughty, quick-witted, scheming and foxy, but at the same time he’s kind, caring and affectionate. Basil has celebrated over 50 years in entertainment. Recent television appearances include THE ONE SHOW, EASY PEASY ECO-BEEBIES, THE WEAKEST LINK (which he won!), FAME ACADEMY, BLUE PETER and much more.He even popped up Down Under to win the Australian game show TALKING BOUT YOUR GENERATION – proving that he is the smartest fox on the box! Basil has appeared in numerous pantomimes up and down the UK including Alderman Foxwarren in Theatre Royal Plymouth’s production of DICK WHITTINGTON, The Baron in CINDERELLA at the Birmingham Hippodrome and three appearances at The Theatre Royal Windsor as the Genie in ALADDIN, Baron in CINDERELLA and Beast’s sidekick in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. 2015 saw Basil tour with Mr Stephen to over 100 venues in his own specially written ‘Full On Fox’ theatre show. Basil and ‘Mr Stephen’ also filmed a new 32 sketch series for YouTube TV which can be seen on his own Youtube TV channel; ‘Basil Brush Official’. Boom Boom!!
He even popped up Down Under to win the Australian game show TALKING BOUT YOUR GENERATION – proving that he is the smartest fox on the box! Basil has appeared in numerous pantomimes up and down the UK including Alderman Foxwarren in Theatre Royal Plymouth’s production of DICK WHITTINGTON, The Baron in CINDERELLA at the Birmingham Hippodrome and three appearances at The Theatre Royal Windsor as the Genie in ALADDIN, Baron in CINDERELLA and Beast’s sidekick in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. 2015 saw Basil tour with Mr Stephen to over 100 venues in his own specially written ‘Full On Fox’ theatre show. Basil and ‘Mr Stephen’ also filmed a new 32 sketch series for YouTube TV which can be seen on his own Youtube TV channel; ‘Basil Brush Official’. Boom Boom!!
Stevi Ritchie shot to fame in 2014 when auditioned for the eleventh series of X FACTOR, where he reached the live finals and finished sixth. In 2015 Stevi entered the CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER house as a joint contestant with his then finance Chloe Jasmine; the couple reached the final day in the house and finished fifth. Steve has made numerous guest appearances on TV shows including KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY, BENCHMARK, GOOD MORNING BRITAIN, LORRAINE, THIS MORNING and LOOSE WOMEN.
Olivia Birchenough is a regular presenter on MILKSHAKE, a programming block on Channel 5 aimed at young children. Olivia has also toured MILKSHAKE: LIVE! to theatres across the country in 2012/13 and again in 2014/15. Olivia starred in panto in the title role of SNOW WHITE at Bournemouth Pavilion during the Christmas 2015/16 season. More recently she won the Panto Insider award for best leading lady in her role of CINDERELLA at New Brighton Floral Pavillion during the Christmas 2016/17 panto season.
Anton Benson Productions Ltd is a theatrical production company based in Manchester. Anton helms a small team focused on providing a high standard of live entertainment specialising in pantomimes, quality drama, musical theatre, cabaret and comedy. Anton worked at Bill Kenwright Ltd for three and a half years before moving back up North to set up ABP. He is a creative independent producer who takes pride in all his shows.
Anton Benson Productions are also touring their new Easter pantomime production, Robin Hood, this Easter.
Anton’s credits include: Jack and the Beanstalk (Northwich Memorial Court 2016); Snow White (Gracie Fields Theatre Rochdale 2016); Snow White (Ellesmere Port Civic 2016); Cinderella (Manchester Winter Wonderland 2016); Be My Baby (National Tour 2016); Get Your Own Back: Live (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 and 2016); Oh La La! (St James Theatre, London 2016); Beauty and the Beast (National Tour 2016); Hubbard’s Cupboards (Northwich 2016, Northwest tour 2015, Heywood Civic 2014 and Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014); Snow White (Northwich Memorial Court 2015); Jack and the Beanstalk (Northwest tour 2015); You’re Never Too Old (National tour 2015, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds 2014 and Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014); Cinderella 2014, Aladdin 2013, Sleeping Beauty 2012 and Jack and the Beanstalk 2011 (Grange Theatre, Northwich); Aladdin (2014 national tour); Autumn Fallin’ (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014); Children’s Variety Adventure (national tour 2014); Alice in Wonderland (Heywood Civic 2014).