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AJ & Curtis Pritchard star in this year's glittering panto at Swansea Grand Theatre

TV favourites and dancing duo, AJ & Curtis Pritchard will reprise their popular panto pairing in Cinderella this Christmas for the glittering Swansea Grand Theatre panto. They’ll be joining a stellar cast in the classic magic-filled, rags to riches fairytale.


AJ & Curtis Pritchard in Cinderella

The Swansea Grand Theatre panto is always a Christmas highlight and this year you’re in for a treat because they’ve pulled out all the stops with an all-time favourite, Cinderella, starring dancing brothers, AJ & Curtis Pritchard.

AJ is best known for his stint as a professional dancer on TV’s Strictly Come Dancing and Curtis, also a professional dancer, shot to fame when he reached the final of Love Island in 2019.We caught up with the Pritchard boys to find out more.


You’ve performed in a few pantomimes together, so can Swansea expect to see a polished pantomime double-act this Christmas?

Curtis: Hopefully! This will be the third year that we've done panto together, and it will be our fourth panto overall.

AJ: It's really nice that we knit together as a duo and can really build on it each year. It just works so well on stage with our Ying and Yang personalities.

Curtis: We’re family, and it helps that we do know each other inside out. As we’re playing Dandini (Curtis) and the Prince (AJ), and their relationship is like a best friend, sort of family thing, so it works perfectly for us.

And we have done the roles for two years now, and each time we can dig deeper and peel away at our characters. It's like an onion, each year we peel off a layer! But don't get me wrong, I do want to try another role at some point. I’d love to play a villain!


Cinderella does have the Ugly Sisters…

Curtis: I mean, can you imagine us doing that!

AJ: Just clarifying, we’re not doing that!

But as Curtis said, it’s great as each year we get to develop the role each time. Like when we used to dance, we never used to change our routines like every week, instead we’d adapt and try to improve, that's the same thing with panto and what’s brilliant about it.


Have either of you performed at the Grand Theatre before?

AJ: I think I performed there once before but I’ve been trying to wrack my brains when. But I am really looking forward to coming to Swansea!

Curtis: I've definitely done stuff in Swansea before, but not at the Grand. But you just watch me get there, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, no, I remember, I have actually performed here!’


So you’re looking forward to spending the festive season in Swansea?

AJ: 100%! What’s really nice when you do panto is you go to a new area and you'll feel the buzz of Christmas. Panto becomes the talk of the town, and especially with a Welsh crowd, they are so brilliant. I always loved dancing in Wales because the audiences were just so much louder and so much more passionate!

Curtis: It’s right near the sea, isn’t it? You always feel in good spirit when you’re near the ocean, everyone's just in a better vibe. Good mood and good energy!


Are you going to go for a Boxing Day dip, maybe?

Curtis: Definitely!

AJ: You know what, I actually do love my ice baths and cold showers. We're doing loads of dancing in this one so I may have to just jump in the sea for a little ice bath!


And how does it feel knowing the Grand won best panto in the Pantomime Association Awards last year?

AJ: I know! When we got told about all the awards it won, and that they wanted us for this year, it was like, okay, this is going to be really good.

Curtis: Yeah, no pressure, bloomin’ hell(!)


What makes an Imagine pantomime different for you?

Curtis: I do love performing with Imagine, they are a lovely company. They really do think about the cast and care what's going on with their shows. It’s their baby, and you can really feel that! But they put a twist on things as well. AJ and I haven't had a Fairy Godfather in the show before, so that'll be new for us and it'll be something a little bit different for the audience. It doesn't matter whatever you identify as, you can play any role you want in the show, and it just works. That’s what I love.


Do you have a favourite part of performing in panto?

Curtis: I love it when we're not facing the audience, and you try and make the rest of the cast laugh. But the problem is, you are sometimes a little bit fatigued because you've done so many shows that you can get into a bit of a delirious state. And once somebody pulls a face or, or does something silly, you just crack up and once you go, you can't pull it back! Your shoulders are shaking, your body's going, you're thinking, I shouldn't be laughing here, but you just can't stop it. But it’s great fun!

That's what makes panto so special. You interact with that audience, and it's a spontaneous moment that no audience has in the same way. In a West End show, you can have an incredible performance, but it could be the same performance every night…

AJ: …but you could watch a panto every night and you're going to see something different.

Curtis: It’s just ridiculously amazing!


And finally, tell us why you think people should come and see you in Cinderella this year?

Curtis: I would say that last year, the Grand won many, many awards and it can only get better! And I'm really going to try and cause some havoc onstage in the best panto way possible!

AJ: I think, for me, Cinderella itself is the iconic panto and having it at Swansea, and having the LCD screen back again, it is going to be epic! We give our life and soul on stage, so just know that we'll be killing ourselves every day for your entertainment, and Curtis usually does bruise himself…

Curtis: I was just thinking that!

AJ: I've seen a lot of pantomimes, and I’ve never seen anyone do a ‘12 days of Christmas’ scene that can outdo Curtis. It’s brilliant!

Curtis: It's such a brutally, hilarious number. Whether it's being cream pied in the face or it's just me tripping over my outfit and all of a sudden, I’m sliding across the stage, I always come away from that scene completely battered and bruised. But it’s totally worth it!


Cinderella features another dazzling, award-winning, digital set, and all of the traditional panto elements to make your Christmas sparkle! This must-see panto is selling fast, so don't be a pumpkin, book early before the clock strikes midnight!


Cinderella at Swansea Grand Theatre, from 9th December to 7th January. Tickets now on sale at www.swanseagrand.co.uk


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