A GIANT Christmas panto is coming to the Thameside Theatre this year which promises to be fe, fi, fo, fun for all the family.

Jack and the Beanstalk will be this year’s festive offering with an all-star cast to match.

The timeless classic promises something for everyone with EastEnders favourite Natalie Cassidy, aka Sonia Jackson, performing in her first ever pantomime as Fairy Meadows and former S Club Juniors singer and Essex boy Jay Perry playing Jack.

The show also features West End veterans including Wain Douglas, back by popular demand after his performance as one of the Ugly Sisters in last year’s show Cinderella, as well as a spectacular backdrop, sparkling costumes and a number of magical surprises.

The fairytale follows Jack on a journey to Giant Blunderbore’s castle in the sky as he battles to save his Princess and Daisy the cow from the evil Poison Ivy.

Natalie said she can’t wait to get started and loves the magic the show brings at Christmas.

She said: “Pantomime is so lovely and something that is important to a lot of children as it is so real.

“I loved the panto when I was younger and it is often the first time children are exposed to the theatre.”

Natalie has a three-year-old daughter, Eliza, who is excited to see her mum on stage.

She added: “I have never wanted to be away from her at Christmas, but what is great is she is now at the age where she can really understand what is going on and I know she can’t wait to see me on with my magic wand and my sparkling gown.”

Although the star name on the billing, Natalie says the team is really close.

She said: “I may have the most recognisable name, but I am working with performers who have years of experience on the West End, so I am learning from them.”

Natalie says she has been to Thurrock a number of times in the past, mainly to Lakeside Shopping Centre, and is excited to perform for the people of the borough.

Orders for the show, run by Polka Dot Pantomimes, are stacking up with all indications this year’s panto will smash box office records.

There are 55 performances between Friday, December 6, and Sunday, January 5, with each show lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Tickets can be booked on 0845 300 5264 or www.thurrock.gov.uk/theatre where an Early Bird offer runs until Wednesday, October 9.