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20,000 tickets sold already for Customs House pantomime The Lambton Worm

The full cast of the Lambton Worm in costume.
The full cast of the Lambton Worm in costume.

A whopping 20,000 people have said ‘Oh yes we will’ to this year’s Customs House pantomime.

The South Shields venue has announced it has hit the ticket milestone, with some shows - including Christmas Eve - already a sell out.

Rehearsals are well under way at the South Shields venue ahead of opening night next week.

Rehearsals are well under way at the South Shields venue ahead of opening night next week.

The announcement comes as the cast work hard in rehearsals to ensure their performance is pitch perfect.

The Lambton Worm will run from Tuesday to Saturday, January 6, in celebration of the North East folk song’s 150th anniversary.

Ray Spencer and Graeme Thompson have put their own spin on the tale of John Lambton’s battle with a giant worm that had been terrorising the villages around his family’s estate.

Ray also directs and stars as Dame Bella Ballcock, the castle cook, who finds herself caught up in a love triangle.

Rehearsals are going well and we know that this will be our best show yet.

Ray Spencer

He said: “It’s great to know that our audiences are excited to see The Customs House’s take on The Lambton Worm, which was originally written for a pantomime.

“Rehearsals are going well and we know that this will be our best show yet.

“Don’t miss the little panto with the big heart.

“Get your tickets now before they’re gobbled up.”

Ray is joined by David John Hopper as Arbuthnot, Steven Lee Hamilton as The Brave and Bold Sir John, Eleanor Chaganis as The Princess, Natasha Haws as Susie Soothsayer from Southwick, Georgia Nicholson as Poison Pen from Penshaw, Gareth Hunter as The Sultan, Cal Halbert as Lord Larry Lambton, and Lewis Jobson as Puddles the Dog.

Ray added: “We have some of our panto favourites joining us again this year.

“The gorgeous Eleanor returns after her debut last year and Steven is back as principal boy after three years of playing characters and villains.

“Gareth is showing his versatility this year by playing The Sultan and creating a bit of a love triangle between The Sultan, Lord Lambton and Dame Bella.”

Some of the cast have worked together before while others are joining for the first time - but they have all been kept in the dark about the script until this week.

Gareth said: “Ray and Graeme keep their cards very close to their chests.

“They don’t like to write the script too early, so it is fresh and current, so they actually keep writing it a few days into the show.”

To book call (0191) 454 1234 or visit www.customshouse.co.uk/theatre.