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Issue 291 – In panto with the stars

A FROME performer is playing alongside stars such as Pamela Anderson and Brian Blessed to 3,000 people a day in the country’s best selling panto.

Sam Bradshaw, who grew up in Frome, is playing PC Pong in Aladdin at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Sunday 10th January.
The pantomime has been garnering a huge amount of publicity in the national press recently as it hosted a guest performance from former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson, as the genie of the lamp.
Sam said, “The press is quite ridiculous. Right now there are about 10 paparazzi outside the doors, although when they realise you’re not Pamela Anderson they tend to drop their cameras down!
“I play PC Pong, it’s a very slapstick art performance. He’s a policeman who thinks he’s in control of Peking, but he hasn’t got a clue. During the performance I roller skate, juggle, unicycle and even go through a mangle. I get teased a lot by Brian Blessed as well.”
For six weeks Sam will be performing six days a week, twice a day to 1,500 people, or an astonishing 108,000 people in total. The pantomime is the biggest selling in the country, and took an incredible £1.8m before it had even opened.
Audiences have included Princes William and Harry, Russell Brand and Vivienne Westwood, who designed Pamela’s costume. Brian Blessed plays the evil Abanazar.
The genie is being played by four special guests. In addition to Pamela Anderson, Anita Dobson, Ruby Wax and Paul O’Grady will all fill the role.
Sam said, “It’s good fun, but it’s also hard work. It’s a long run and it’s challenging to get enough rest. Brian Blessed is amazing, he’s so professional and just the best person to work with. Having different genies is interesting because they play it in different ways. Ruby Wax played it like she didn’t want to be there, Pamela was like a cross between Barbie and Marilyn Monroe, and Anita Dobson is playing the character like Ange from Eastenders. I’m looking forward to Paul O’Grady, he’s one of our biggest legends and he’s good friends with Brian Blessed so it’ll probably run for hours with all their ad-libbing!”
Sam got the role after playing for the same production company in their pantomime in Sunderland last year. They liked his performance and offered him the same part in this year’s show. Sam said he always wanted to be a performer, and has worked on cruise ships, at holiday parks and at Disneyland Paris, as well as in various acting roles over the years. He went to Hayesdown First School, Selwood Middle School and Frome Community College before studying performing arts at Bath College. For the last three years he has studied musical theatre at a performing arts school in North London.
He said, “It’s got a huge amount of publicity and it’s really nice as a young actor after training for three years and getting little jobs here and there, it’s good publicity to get out there and be seen. I’m looking forward to the rest of January though and having a little break!”

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