Spence and Shaw head ‘up North!’
Cinderella comes to Manchester this December at the Opera House…oh no it doesn’t…oh yes it does!!! The Panto brings with it a fabulous cast headed by former Hear’Say and Emmerdale star Suzanne Shaw and Pineapple Dance Studios Louie Spence.
I caught up with the pair at the show’s launch to see how they are looking forward to spending Christmas onstage in our fine city.
Fans of the ‘camper than Christmas’ Louie Spence would not be disappointed if they ever met him in the flesh. What you see onscreen is what you get with Louie, he is bursting with energy and totally fabulous!
Contrary to popular belief, the Pineapple Dance Studios star has done little Panto in the past, only debuting last year as David Hasslehoff’s cabin boy in Captain Hook in Wimbledon. He’s really excited about playing the Prince’s aide ‘Dandini’ this year and says this is definitely the best time for him:
“Panto is so me! It’s a traditional British thing and we are so good at it because we know how to laugh. We love to laugh at ourselves and other people. What you have to understand is Panto is two and a half hours of just fun and I particularly like having fun.”
But what can we expect from this version of the popular tale? Louie thinks the audience is in for a treat:
“Well, it will certainly be a ‘different’ Cinderella…cos you’ve got me in it. ‘Dandini’ is usually played by a girl so I don’t know why they thought it would be appropriate for me to play the role…maybe I have a touch of the feminine side-you tell me!”
It looks like Cinders had better watch out as Louie says he has his eye on one thing in particular.
“That Suzanne Shaw best stick those slippers to her feet cos if she ain’t got them on they are going right on my size 6’s I can tell you! She’s gonna have to work for her Prince Charming that’s all I’m saying.”
There’s no wonder everything Louie does at the moment is a success and people love him, his positivity is infectious. His latest venture sees him put pen to paper, revealing all in an autobiography ‘Still Got it, Never Lost It’-out Sept 29th.
“I wrote it myself, it’s all my work” he is eager to clear up, ‘A couple of my family members have read it and found out things they didn’t even know. It made them laugh and it made them cry.”
Louie still can’t believe he’s now adding ‘writer’ to his list of achievements.
“I’m so proud of it because I never thought I’d ever be a published author. I never passed one exam at school, I only got put in for art and then I got took out of that because I told the teacher I thought they had halitosis. I’m so grateful for what I have right now and as long as the sun is shining I’ll keep my glasses off…I’m not gonna block it out whilst it’s shining. I’m having a ball!”
Bury born Suzanne Shaw comes back home to her Northern roots when she takes to the Manchester Opera House to play the title role in Cinderella, although it’s not the first time she has performed on this stage.
“I love the Opera House”, Suzanne gushes, “I did ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ here in the past and I just love this building. I’ve been up here recently filming something to do with the Opera House which I’m really excited about. I can’t say anymore about it…you will just have to wait and see.”
Emmerdale viewers were disappointed this year when Suzanne quit the soap after over a year of playing man mad Evie. The decision came after the actress found she wanted to spend more time at her home in Buckinghamshire, something her son Corey thinks might have not been the best move for her career.
“He said to me the other day ‘Why did you leave Emmerdale?’ I replied, ‘Because I wanted to do other things’ and he turned round to me and said ‘You know you’ll never work on telly again’…(laughs), I thought I’m glad you’re not my agent!”
Corey turns 7 whilst Suzanne is up in Manchester in Cinderella but she says she definitely won’t be missing out on his special day.
“We’re going to have a Panto party for his birthday, with all his friends coming to see the show. I’m gonna try and get him up onstage, that would be really funny.”
She says her son is still struggling to figure out what his Mum’s job is:
“I don’t think he really gets what I do. He thought I was an ice skater for a while which I kind of liked but he has seen other stuff I have done onstage in musicals. He came to see me in ‘White Christmas’ at The Lowry two years ago but he can’t stop talking so he chatted all the way through it. I remember on one occasion he was watching and when I was about to sing the love song he said really loud to the people next to him ‘Oh, here comes the boring bit’… god knows what he will be saying at Cinderella!”
Not content with a career that has seen her become a popstar, ice skater and soap star Suzanne has now decided to turn her hand to the world of PR. She has just opened a new agency called ‘King and Queen PR’, (after her husband, DJ Jason King’s surname and her Mum – who is her business partner’s- nickname ‘Queen’).
“For the past couple of years I’ve been really interested in PR and the creative side of it and I thought to myself I’d really like to have a go at it. I find it really interesting thinking of different ways to launch products. I just woke up one day and thought I turn 30 this year and I have nothing to give to Corey when he grows up. I wanted to have a family business that I could pass on to him.”
With that Suzanne heads off to don her Cinderella costume for the press photocall, leaving me in awe of the multitalented yummy mummy!
Saturday December 3rd 2011 – Saturday December 31st 2011
Opera House, Manchester