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Escape room challenge for the audience may be a panto first

Kyle Fraser will be Dick Whittington at Sheringham Little Theatre's panto this Christmas. Pictures: Richard Batson

Kyle Fraser will be Dick Whittington at Sheringham Little Theatre's panto this Christmas. Pictures: Richard Batson

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An escape room challenge for the audience will give a Norfolk theatre's Christmas panto a new twist.

Dick Whittington (Kyle Fraser) gets some London navigation advice from director and dame Nick Earnshaw, ahead of panto season. Pictures: Richard BatsonDick Whittington (Kyle Fraser) gets some London navigation advice from director and dame Nick Earnshaw, ahead of panto season. Pictures: Richard Batson

The traditional tale of the poor hero, Dick Whittington heading to the capital to find his fortune will be given a tweak when it takes to the stage at Sheringham Little Theatre.

The story has been given a 'steam punk' industrial Victorian theme, with a furnace full of fun, special effects, colourful characters and a mix of modern and retro music as the venue marks the milestone of 10 years of producing its own panto.

Nick Earnshaw, who has directed five of the 10, has even added what he thinks may be a panto first - an escape room where showgoers have to help solve clues to get the cast on their way.

He combines the role with appearing on stage as the dame, Sarah the Cook, having made his Sheringham panto debut a decade ago as Pearl the Ugly Sister.

He will be joined by some familiar faces from previous pantos.

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Kyle Fraser is Dick Whittington after playing Princes in Snow White and Cinderella, Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and 'baddy' Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.

Rik Warren is a new canine character Johnny The Dog, having appeared in the most pantomimes at Sheringham, six. Johnny the Dog vies for Dick's favour with The Cat, played by young North Walsham actor Harry Williams who has risen through the panto ranks to land key roles such as Dandini in Cinderella and The Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz.

Another local girl Lucy Conner plays apprentice fairy Bow Bells, while cabaret singer Kit Henson is Queen Rat.

The seven-strong professional cast will be boosted by a community chorus of all singing and dancing rats and villagers.

Mr Earnshaw added: "I thought it was important to have some faces for the regular audiences to remember as we mark our big anniversary. You may also see a cameo appearance from one of our previous panto puppets."

Dick Whittington and his Cat runs from December 7 to January 1. More information and tickets at www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or call 01263 822347.

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