Toyah teams up with Chico 
By Ruth Lumley 

Pop star and Quadrophenia actress Toyah Willcox says she prefers performing in panto to the Australian jungle. 

The feisty Eighties pop icon, who was a contestant on I'm A Celebrity! Get Me Out Of Here, will star in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal in Brighton this Christmas with former male stripper and X Factor contestant Chico. 

Toyah is a veteran when it comes to pantomimes - this will be her 14th. She is looking forward to working with Chico and loves coming back to Brighton - this will be her sixth pantomime at the Theatre Royal. 

She said: "I am one of the genies. Brighton's such a fabulous and cultural place to be, it is going to be an exciting Christmas. 

"I am addicted to pantomime, it gets me through the winter and it is also the only time you perform in front of three generations of one family. It puts your feet on the ground when you look out there. 

"Panto is demanding, it is never boring or tedious. Working with Chico is going to be perfect. 

"He has a magnetism and is charismatic. He's generally wonderful to watch and I think the audience is going to love him." 

It will be the first time Chico, a Moroccan goatherder who moved to Crawley when he was 14, has performed in pantomine and he is relishing the prospect of playing the lead role. 

He said: "It is a natural progression and there is going to be a bit of Chico time' in there. My head is in the clouds and my feet have not touched the ground. I am riding a wave and I don't want it to stop. What I love about panto is the audience participation. 

"I love children and they love me. There will be a good crosssection of families there." 

The Theatre Royal is celebrating its 200th birthday while the panto is on. Chico never imagined he would be treading the boards, let alone be the show's main attraction. 

He said: "I had dreamt about it but I never thought I would end up doing it. But if you believe in it, it only goes to show you can do it." 

Aladdin runs from December 14 until January 14 and tickets cost 11.50 to 20. 

The Argus
25th September 2006