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He used to be very Blue but now he’s a bit of a Beast.

That is a cryptic way of saying that Antony Costa will star in the Grand Opera House panto, Beauty And The Beast, this Christmas.

The man who founded boy band Blue will play the dual role of the Prince/Beast in the show.

He will be joined in the cast by Home And Away soap star Lynne McGranger as Wizadora Crabapple, and Ken Morley, ex Coronation Street favourite.

Returning this winter are former Emmerdale actor Stuart Wade, Debbie McGee and dame Steve Wickenden.

Flying fun

The lovely Debbie McGee

Three Bears Productions, the company run by writer-producer Chris Moreno, co-producer Russ Spencer and actor-director Stuart Wade, made their Grand Opera House debut last Christmas with Aladdin.

They return promising new special effects, including a flying dragon. And there’s a scary haunted bedroom scene with ghosts, ghoulies and goblins.

For Antony Costa it will be his second appearance of 2017 at the Grand Opera House.

From October 16 to 21, he will star in the The Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s touring production of Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone.

Breaking box office records

Carl Tracey as Aladdin and Steve Wickenden as Widow Twankey in last year’s panto Aladdin. Photographs: David Harrison

Stuart Wade, in his fifth Opera House panto, will take the daft lad role of Hudson, the Beast’s manservant.

Debbie McGee will be in fairy mode as Adorabella Marigold Angelpie, and classy dame Steve Wickenden will play Mirabelle, Belle’s sister.

Ken Morley will be Maurice, Belle’s father; Audrey Leybourne, formerly one of Les Dawson’s Roly Polys, is Potty T Potts; and Lincoln musical actress, model and singer Charlotte MacLachlan plays Belle, alias Beauty.

“Three Bears Productions were thrilled that all panto box-office records at the Grand Opera House were broken last Christmas with Aladdin,” Chris Moreno said.

“We’re pleased to announce a brand new production of Beauty And The Beast with some very exciting special effects and fabulous sets and costumes.”

Theatre general manager Lizzie Richards said: “This pantomime title is a first for the Grand Opera House and we’re all looking forward to this year’s star cast.”