Panto favourites Stephen and Craig going back to where it all began

Beauty and the Beast at the Westovians From left Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan
Beauty and the Beast at the Westovians From left Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan
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Panto favourites Stephen Sullivan and Craig Richardson are going back to where it all began this Christmas.

The duo are making a return to the Westovian Theatre Society’s pantomime after a few years away.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan in Kindly Keep It Covered.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan in Kindly Keep It Covered.

Once again, the best pals, who both hail from South Shields, will become mother and son, this time for Beauty and the Beast.

The festive show will be the pair’s ninth panto together and their sixth as mother and son.

Stephen, 30, will take on the role of Dame Fifi Latrine, while Craig, 31, will play Bertie Latrine in the show, which runs at the Westovian Theatre in Pier Parade, South Shields, from January 13 to 21.

Craig, a freelance graphic designer, said: “I’m really excited to be back where we both started together, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

The Customs House Little Red Riding Hood panto cast visit South Shields Asda. From left Stephen Sullivan as Mr Fracker and Craig Richardson as Timber

The Customs House Little Red Riding Hood panto cast visit South Shields Asda. From left Stephen Sullivan as Mr Fracker and Craig Richardson as Timber

“We’ve done a few pantos together since at the Customs House, but not as mother and son and we’ve not had that partnership together on stage so it’ll be great to get it back.”

The last Westovians panto Stephen and Craig did together was Jack and the Beanstalk in 2013, and their first one as a comedy duo was back in 2008 when they starred in Aladdin.

Stephen, who works as marketing and events co-ordinator at the Customs House, added: “The great thing about it is that we’ve done it so many times before that it just comes naturally.

“We’ve worked together a lot doing panto and the children’s parties at the Amphitheatre during the summer, and we had the same kind of dynamic there as well.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son on the Westovians stage.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son on the Westovians stage.

“We’re comfortable on stage together but we know how to push each other’s buttons too and what we can get away with.”

Craig said: “We’ve found that perfect balance of supporting each other and taking the Mick out of each other.”

Before Beauty and the Beast hits the stage, you’ll be able to see the pair together in the Laffalang, at the Westovian Theatre, On October 28 and 29.

Stephen will also be appearing in Aladdin as Abanazar at the Gateshead Pantodrome, from December 10 to 24, and Craig will be part of Santa’s Naughty Elf when it runs at the Customs House from December 3 to 24.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son on the Westovians stage.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son on the Westovians stage.

Stephen said: “We’ve started rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast already and we can tell how much fun the show’s going to be.

“There’s a great script from Philip Meeks and we’re developing little added extras for the show and having a great time.

“We’re excited to be back with everyone at the Westovians, including Gareth Hunter who is directing again.

“It’s so great to be returning to the place where we learnt out craft, from people like Michael Gallagher and Beryl Henderson, who are sadly no longer with us.”

Craig added: “Going back to the Westovians feels like going home. It’s somewhere that’s really special to us and we just can’t wait to get back.”

Tickets for the panto cost £9 for adults and £7 for under-12s.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son on the Westovians stage.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son on the Westovians stage.

To book, call 0191 424 7788 or go to the new Visitor Information Centre within the Word.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son in a previous Westovians panto.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son in a previous Westovians panto.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella at the Customs House.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella at the Customs House.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son in a previous Westovians panto.

Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan as mother and son in a previous Westovians panto.

Custom House Cinderella panto cast visit South Shields Asda. Ugly sisters from left Stephen Sullivan- Constipationi and Craig Richardson- Diorria

Custom House Cinderella panto cast visit South Shields Asda. Ugly sisters from left Stephen Sullivan- Constipationi and Craig Richardson- Diorria