MUCH-loved Wiltshire comedian Jon Monie says he can’t wait to get back on stage as Buttons in this year’s pantomime, Cinderella, at Bath’s Theatre Royal, postponed from last year.

Mr Monie, who lives in Holt, returns by popular demand to play Buttons, appearing alongside Tracy Beaker star Dani Harmer, who plays the Fairy Godmother this time following her last performance as Cinderella in the 2014 Theatre Royal pantomime.

Jon said: “We are now doing the show that we would have done 12 months ago and it feels like it’s been a very long time coming. 

“We did try to save panto season last year and I wrote something else specifically for Bath but it all fell through at the last minute. It got performed elsewhere in the country instead.

“When it became clear a full scale panto wasn’t viable with social distancing, I wrote a one-ex pantomime with a cast of four people playing six parts about pantomime and called it pantomonium.

“It was great. I was really thrilled with it and the theatre liked it and the producer liked it but they couldn’t agree on how to fund it and it all fell apart and then the Blackpool Grand put it on instead.

“I’m hugely looking forward to being back on stage and I’m swinging between giddy excitement and absolute terror. It feels like a long time since I’ve done anything on stage in front of an audience.

“It felt like quite an achievement to get back into the rehearsal room after the last 18 months. We are only on day four of rehearsals but it’s going really well,” said Jon, who entered the record books when he made his 1,000th Bath pantomime appearance in January 2019 during the run of Peter Pan, in which he played Smee. 

Now marking his 19th Christmas show at the Theatre Royal, Jon is also an award-winning comedian andexperienced TV presenter having worked on many shows for ITV and BBC.

Bath’s own pantomime legend also works as a ‘jobbing actor’ and award-winning writer and has penned the joke-filled script for UK Productions’ glittering 2021 show. 

He wrote the script for the Theatre Royal Bath’s last pantomime Beauty and the Beast, winning the accolade of Best Script at the Great British Pantomime Awards in 2019, as well as starring in the show as Louis La Plonk. 

His recent screen credits include The Nevers for HBO, Moominvalley for Sky and Showtrial and Outlaws for BBC. 

This year, Jon has also written the pantomime Peter Pan - The Return of Captain Hook for UK Productions and lyrics for a new musical set to tour the UK in 2022.

He said: "I'm genuinely thrilled that Cinderella will be going to the ball in Bath this Christmas. We've got a brand-new script packed full of new jokes, new surprises and same old me. I can't wait!"

The pantomime will run for two shows a day, six days a week, and Jon jokes that while he is still playing Buttons, Dani Harmer has progressed from Cinderella to playing the Fairy Godmother. 

“I’m still languishing as the village idiot while she has moved on. I’m still stuck in the same role as the fool. The nice thing about Buttons is that there is a bit more depth to him. He is genuinely in love with Cinderella and that love is unrequited.

“So for an actor you have actually got a bit of pathos to play with and you can get the audience on your side and feeling sorry for you. It’s not just all about falls and custard pies. There’s a bit more about the role of Buttons which is fun to play.”

The show is likely to avoid much mention of COVID as Mr Monie says: “I decided I wanted people to come to the theatre and forget about COVID for two hours. I don’t want to remind people of the pandemic.”

But the panto will draw people’s attention to the fact that audiences are back and theatres are bouncing back with live performances following the pandemic lockdowns. 

“That is something to be celebrated. There is a little moment in the show that I’m really quite proud of it and hopefully it will send a little shiver down people’s spines. Hopefully, it will remind people that live theatre and live performance, whatever genre, is a vital part of society.

“So, it’s great to be back and we are all slightly on tenterhooks with all these current new variants but at the moment we are going for it. Theatres are as safe as they can be. 

“Theatres not just in Wiltshire but across the country need people’s support as they have had a rough time of it during the pandemic. I would love people to come to Bath and see Cinderella but if they can’t get to Bath then support their local theatre.”

Dani Harmer, one of the biggest stars of children's television in BBC history as the young Tracy Beaker, plays Fairy Godmother, while experienced pantomime and musical theatre performers, Nic Gibney and Duncan Burt star as the Ugly Sisters.

Cinderella is played by Elly Jay, whose international stage credits have seen her perform across Europe and in Japan, and the role of Prince Charming is played by Josh Rose with Michael Chance as Baron Hardup and Chris Fearn as Dandini. 

Cinderella is directed by Hannah Starkey with choreography by Mitchell Harper and musical direction by Joshua Newport.

Alongside the company of professional actors performing in Cinderella, this year’s pantomime will also feature dancers from Bath’s Dorothy Coleborn School of Dance.

Appearing at the Theatre Royal Bath from Thursday, December 16 to Sunday, January 9, the truly traditional production will ensure that every family member has a ball with a feast of family fun and festive frivolity.

The Theatre Royal Bath says it is “delighted” to welcome back MOORE as Sponsor, and is grateful for their continued support.

Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at