A fairytale romance: The Octagon, Somerset

PUBLISHED: 15:54 01 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:12 20 February 2013

The Octagon is preparing to sparkle with laughter, music and magic this Christmas...

A fairytale romance: The Octagon, Somerset

The Octagon is preparing to sparkle with laughter, music and magic this Christmas...

Magnificent Montacute House is often described as a glittering mansion, so where better for the Octagon Theatre to launch the loveliest pantomime of them all: Cinderella.

While photographs were being taken to announce the theatres 2011 festive offering, visitors to the National Trust property were wowed by the hilarious antics of the Ugly Sisters and endeared by Cinderella and the dashing Prince.

The actors are now busy in rehearsals for the production, which begins next month, and will mark 25 years of pantomime for the Octagon in Yeovil. It features a stellar cast of West End performers, and two cast members in particular who are delighted to be back on this Somerset stage are Ashley Oliver who plays Cinderella and Eddie Dredge who takes the role of the Princes aide, Dandini.

The couple were last here in 2006 for Mad about the Musicals when they had just started dating. Now they return as husband and wife after getting married this summer.

I remember the Octagon having a very warm audience, recalls Ashley, whose theatre credits include national and international tours as Belle in Disneys Beauty and the Beast.

Originally from Glasgow, Ashley is looking forward to spending Christmas in Somerset and exploring this part of the world. And her tour guide will be her real-life Prince Charming her Somerset-born husband Eddie. The award-winning actor grew up in Weston-super-Mare and appeared in a number of shows for the local operatic societies.

I was in my first show when I was nine as The Artful Dodger in Oliver at Becket Primary School, says Eddie, who still stays in touch with his drama teacher from Worle Community School. He has since gone on to play a number of roles in shows such as Starlight Express, Fame and Mack and Mabel.

When they are not performing this Christmas the couple, who have appeared in Moonpig commercials together, are keen to explore some of the picturesque villages nearby and Eddie has also promised to take Ashley to Wookey Hole.

A member of the cast who will also be familiar to Yeovil audiences is Jonny Purchase who plays Prince Charming. Born and brought up in the town, Jonny performed many times at the Octagon in his younger years.

Its really nice to be back with the family and catch up with friends, says the performer, who graduated from the Guildford School of Acting last year.

The Director of Cinderella is David Lee of Sheer Enchantment, one of the UKs leading pantomime-producing companies. He has presented over 200 pantomimes, shows for cruise lines, cabaret and theatre tours and worked with a host of stars.

Ive been coming to the Octagon for 25 years and I know that the audiences here are very loyal to this theatre. It has a great atmosphere and the unsung heroes are the stage crew.

The Octagon is one of the finest in the country, there is no doubt about that.

Cinderella runs from 10 December to
1 January. To book tickets visit: octagon-theatre.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01935 422884.


Two family tickets to the production of Cinderella. All you have to do is enter online at somerset.greatbritishlife.co.uk or send a postcard to Somerset/Cinderella Archant House, Babbage Road, Totnes TQ9 5JA.

The first two correct entries drawn after
23 November 2011 will be the winners. Please see competition rules on page 5.

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