Alice is having a ball with Bonnie

Swindon Advertiser: Alice Baker, right, as Cinderella at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre with Bonnie Langford Alice Baker, right, as Cinderella at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre with Bonnie Langford

THE slipper has proved quite the fit for Alice Baker in her first professional lead role on the stage, where she has performed in front of sell-out crowds as Cinderella for the past four weeks.

Alice, from Swindon, still has nine days to run at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, after a month of performing two, sometimes three times a day alongside television and stage star Bonnie Langford.

The 17-year-old has been performing around her studies as a second-year student of musical theatre at the Performance Preparation Academy in the Surrey town.

“It’s been a bit of an adventure,” she said. “It’s been so, so amazing and I’m very thankful for every opportunity here.

“I was quite nervous, because it was such a short rehearsal period. I was scared for that first show. As soon as I heard the little kids screaming, that faded, and it became very exciting.

“I couldn’t sleep after that first night.

“My family came to see me on the second week after things had settled down, and they were so proud and very excited for me.”

Leading a panto is no piece of cake, especially for a teenage novice. Alice has been expected to take to the stage for a full two-and-a-half hour show at least twice a day for, what will be ultimately be five weeks, with just a handful of rest days.

Despite the endless performances, Alice has not found the process tedious in any way. She said: “Because it’s panto it’s so much fun, when you work on the stage in front of all those people every night it feels different each time.”

The former Lethbridge Primary and Commonweal School pupil said it has been wonderful to work alongside Bonnie, star of Doctor Who and Cats, who Alice has described as a useful role model and ultimate professional.

The panto itself has proved a success, according to Alice, with reviewers scoring it well in the local press.

“It’s been really good. Our reviews have been pretty positive. I’m really thrilled about them. Our director has been really happy with the show and everyone who comes to watch has given positive feedback,” said Alice.

“We have had to make a few tweaks to the show, because it turned out to be a really long piece. “We didn’t realise until running through the whole thing in rehearsal that it was actually very long.

“One or two of the scenes had to be cut down and some lines cut back.”

The show has run without any serious drama or problems, other than two real horses which form part of the show who seem keen on leaving one or two surprises on the stage floor.

Alice’s final performance will take place on January 12. Tickets are still available for shows between now and then via the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre website.

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