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Actors tell of excitement at taking on South Tyneside panto’s sister act

Georgia Nicholson as Poison Pen from Penshaw.
Georgia Nicholson as Poison Pen from Penshaw.

A seasoned performer is helping a panto newcomer learn the ropes as they prepare for curtain up.

The Lambton Worm – this year’s annual panto at the Customs House, South Shields, will see the fight between naughty and nice play out between estranged sisters Susie Soothsayer from Southwick and Poison Pen from Penshaw.

Nataha Haws as Susie Soothsayer from Southwick.

Nataha Haws as Susie Soothsayer from Southwick.

Veteran pantomime performer Natasha Haws is moving away from principal girl for the first time to take on the role of sweet Susie.

Georgia Nicholson, meanwhile, is relishing the opportunity to play the wicked Poison Pen – short for Penelope – as she makes her panto debut at the theatre.

The script has been written by Ray Spencer and Graeme Thompson in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the North East folk song.

It tells the story of John Lambton, who discards a worm as a child, only for it to grow into a beast that terrorises the villages around his family’s estate while he is away fighting for his country.

I’m very excited to be joining The Customs House pantomime as Poison Pen and can’t wait to see what magical mischief she can get up to.

Georgina Nicolson

In the show, Susie and Pen are childhood friends of the Brave and Bold Sir John, played by Steven Lee Hamilton.

Natasha said: “This is the first time I am playing a 
magical role, which is something I have always wanted to do.

“I am scared about being handed some magic, which usually happens.

“We usually get a trick to do in rehearsal week that we need to master.”

Natasha previously played the lead characters in Little Red Riding Hood and Alice and Wonderland and Eloise in Jack and the Beanstalk and danced in the theatre’s pantos as a child. 15.

Georgia is no stranger to the venue, having appeared in The Dolly Mixtures and The Cinder Path, but The Lambton Worm marks her first panto appearance.

She said: “I’m very excited to be joining The Customs House pantomime as Poison Pen and can’t wait to see what magical mischief she can get up to.

“I was born in South Shields and it’s a huge honour to come back and join the fabulous cast of The Lambton Worm and of course, to tell one of the region’s most loved stories.”

The production also stars Ray as Dame Bella Ballcock, David John Hopper as her hapless son, Arbuthnot, Eleanor Chaganis as the Princess, and Gareth Hunter as The Sultan

Tickets for the show, which starts on Tuesday and runs until Saturday, January 6, are available by calling 0191 454 1234 or via www.customshouse.co.uk