Panto veteran Abby is relishing new role in Dick Whittington

Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson

One of the stars of this year’s Christmas Pantomime, Dick Whittington, has been in show business for more than 50 years.

Local singer and actress Abby Johnson, has been chosen to play Queen Rat this festive season and said she was ‘delighted’.

She said: “What a challenge. I’ve never been booed and hissed at, Principal Boys are always the ‘good guys’ but I’m up for it. Hopefully my years of professional pantos will add a little ‘something’ to this year’s production.”

Abby started her career with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1963 – although had appeared on shows such as Candid Camera prior to it.

She then left the company to start what she describes as ‘a very varied and exciting period in her life’.

She has performed in summer shows, cabaret, television, and pantomimes - mainly as principal boys - something she attributes to her legs.

They include performing with Arthur Lucan’s understudy Roy Rowland as Old Mother Riley in Jack and the Beanstalk, Mike and Bernie Winters, the Grumbleweeds, Harry H Corbett and Keith Harris in the year he launched Orville.

She was also the original voice of Robin Kermit’s nephew in The Muppet Show.

The show, at Blackfriars Theatre, will take place from Friday, December 12, until January 4. Tickets £13 adult, £11 child. For details visit www.blackfriarsartscentre.co.uk or call 01205 363108.