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The Lambton Worm

South Shields Customs House

Tuesday 28th November 2017 - Saturday 6th January 2018

Cal Halbert as Lord Larry Lambton
in The Lambton Worm; 
Comedian Cal Halbert has been transformed beyond recognition for his first panto role.

The 24-year-old is no stranger to the stage, having performed as a stand-up comedian and as one half of The Mimic Men with BBC Radio Newcastle’s Alfie Joey.

Cal Halbert and Alfie Joey on 
Britain’s Got Talent as The Mimic Men. 
The duo appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2016 and wowed the judges with their A-Z of impressions, but narrowly missed out on the live shows.  They are regulars on the north east comedy circuit however, performing at The Customs House in July as part of the South Tyneside Comedy Festival and in last month’s Together Forever fundraiser in memory of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.

Cal Halbert as Lord Larry Lambton 
and Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock 
But Cal looks very different as Lord Larry Lambton in The Lambton Worm, which runs from Tuesday, November 28, to Saturday, January 6.  He has aged drastically for the part – with the aid of prosthetics, wig and facial hair, make-up and costume devised by Newcastle-based designers Fox and Shriek. “The transformation is fantastic,” he said. “Massive credit to Fox and Shriek. They are brilliant.”

Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, who co-writes, directs and stars in the annual panto, is delighted to have Cal on board. He said: “We are very lucky to have Cal, a man of 1,000 voices, to play Lord Lambton. We’re used to seeing him use his voice to transform into someone else, but Fox and Shriek have done a fantastic job of creating Lord Larry Lambton.”

Cal Halbert 
Cal, who hails from Shrewsbury but is now based in Newcastle, was cast after asking Ray for some advice about getting into panto. He said: “I have always wanted to do panto, I don’t know why, but I always have, so I messaged Ray for some advice and I ended up being cast. It is going to be brilliant. I am really looking forward to it. I want to put in as many voices as possible.” Cal has cleared his schedule for the panto, but will be back to stand-up and writing new material for The Mimic Men in the new year.

Costume designer Paul Shriek said the inspiration for the eccentric Lord Lambton’s look was inspired by the period in which The Lambton Worm was originally written, as well as its medieval setting.   

He added: “He’s an homage to memories of classic children movies of the 1960s. Lord Lambton has the eccentricity of a Victorian collector as The Lambton Worm was written 150 years ago at the height of the Empire.”
The Lambton Worm, sponsored by Hays Travel, has been written in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the folk song The Lambton Worm.
It tells the legend of the brave Sir John Lambton, who returns home from war to slay a ferocious beats who has been terrorising the villages around his family’s estate.

But there will be a twist in the tale in The Custom Houses’ hilarious re-telling of the story, however, which sees the return of Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock and David Lee Hopper as her hapless son Arbuthnot. The rest of the cast are: Steven Lee Hamilton as The Brave and Bold Sir John, Eleanor Chaganis as the Princess, Natasha Haws as Susie Soothsayer from Southwick, Georgia Nicholson as Poison Pen from Penshaw, Gareth Hunter as The Sultan and Lewis Jobson as Puddles the Dog. 

South Tyneside Dance Workshop will again be providing the backing dancers.

For performance times and tickets, priced from just £9.99 each, contact the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or visit

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