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Panto Cast under the Spotlight: Ben Barrow

Those who came to last year’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, will recognise this face – affectionately known as ‘Tony the Phoney’, Ben surprised Newbury in every show by seemingly being picked from the audience at random, and becoming our very own Secret Prince. Now he's back as the larger-than-life Genie in Aladdin. Let's see what he's been up to since we saw him last...

Can you tell us about your previous experience of being in a Newbury panto? What is your favourite thing about performing in one?
Yes! Returners to the Corn Exchange will remember me as last year's 'secret prince' in Sleeping Beauty - being picked from the audience every show and transforming into 'Prince Tony' was one of the most fun experiences of my life! (Although, I'm hoping for slightly less pink gunge this year...!)

Do you have any memories of being taken to see pantomimes as a child?

I remember the very first pantomime I was taken to see was Aladdin, in Barrow-in-Furness (where I was born) - but I cried so much when Abanazar appeared that we had to leave! Hopefully, with a few more years behind me, I'll manage to stay this year.

What have you been doing this year to keep yourself creative? Have you taken up any new hobbies?

Spent lots of time Googling official World Records that we thought we could break... and, at one point, my housemate did in fact set a record time for putting an egg inside an uninflated balloon and taking it back out again, so that's something, I guess...

Joking aside, I've been doing lots of writing for a new musical I've been working on with one of my close friends - so that's exciting!

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Lots of time with family, and lots of food!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

I'm sure this will be a popular answer amongst the Newbury Massive: you can't beat a bit of Mariah Carey All I Want For Christmas Is You!

Well Ben, you ain't no phoney, you know Newbury alright! We look forward to having you back on our stage for another year of Christmas mayhem!

Rub that lamp, make all your wishes come true and join us on a carpet ride adventure like no other in this year's socially distanced pantomime adventure. Find out more