DUNFERMLINE panto star Ian (Sheepie) Smith is promising this year's pantomime offering at the Alhambra Theatre is "going to be a belter" as he gets set to take to the stage again.

Sheepie is returning to Dunfermline for the production of Beauty and the Beast and, among his co-stars, will be Kevin McLeod and Anya Scott-Rodgers, of Funbox fame.

He will bring his comical character to life in the guise of Danny, who he said is "the village idiot" of the story.

"I can confirm, because I have just written the bit, I will be Danny, or Daft Danny, Danny Dumpling," he told the Press. "That will be my character this year. I am a kind of village idiot around and about. He is pretty much everywhere about Beauty and the Beast.

"He is kind of a handyman. He will do any job for a buck or two. He doesn't succeed in a lot of them."

Over the years in panto – which span the last 13 years – Sheepie has built up several catchphrases which is something he incorporates into his performances.

Previous audiences know him for his shouts of "awwwwrrritte" and "it's going to be a belter" and he is hoping it will catch on in Dunfermline.

"Awwwrrrite" is usually my first word," he said. "Last year, it was weird because it was my first time here and no-one really knew that was what I do."

Having been getting to grips with his script, Sheepie is now excited to get going at the Alhambra.

"I am delighted to be back and I can't wait to get started," he added. "I cannot believe it is mid-November already so I am all guns blazing, ready to go."

For fellow star Kevin McLeod, the Alhambra stage is a familiar one – he has graced it with his Funbox productions and the Singing Kettle before it.

However, he is looking forward to returning for what he feels is a unique type of production.

"I am very much looking forward to the 'It's behind you' element and that sort of interaction – we will totally be encouraging that," he said.

"For many people, it might be the first trip to the theatre and it (pantomime) is such a British thing.

"I am playing Belle's father who is going to be, I think, a bit of an eccentric inventor of weird things. In the original Beauty and the Beast story, he was a clock-maker. He made clocks and I think in the Disney movie, he made pretty items so I think it will be a panto-fying of that idea. A bit more of an eccentric inventor this time.

"With any children's theatre, it is very much a family audience and you feed off the energy of the audience, especially the young people.

"Adults maybe know how to behave and know what to do. A panto gives everyone carte blanche to shout out. You would not go to a West End show and do that."

Kevin is also looking forward to treading the boards at the Alhambra.

"It has always been a fantastic venue – I am a sucker for an old theatre," he said. "I love the old spaces. I just love the old buildings.

"Singing Kettle came to the Alhambra to perform possibly not long after they got it back up and running again and it was just like an Aladdin's cave. They have kept so many things. They have an old clocking-in machine backstage and almost a wind up telephone in the foyer. There's little artefacts that have survived.

"I have done other places, like Braehead, which don't have the magic. Going in places like the Alhambra is magical.

"For a lot of children, the pantomime might be the first time someone has gone into a theatre. Everyone is dressed in their waistcoats and it is magical.

"I clearly remember my first trip to the theatre. The show for me started as I got to the front door. Everyone in their finery. It was just another world. It has stuck with me ever since."

Audiences can expect family fun, and sing-a-longs a-plenty for the Alhambra's 2022 pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. Get set for dazzling costumes and colourful sets, as a wonderful all-star cast entertain you this Christmas.

The show promises fun for all ages and maybe even a sweet or two!

To win one of three sets of family tickets for the pantomime's opening night on Friday, November 9 at 7pm, tell us who is playing lead comic this year in Beauty and the Beast.

To enter, email the answer to editorial@dunfermlinepress.co.uk, marking 'Panto Competition' in the subject box. Correct entries will be drawn at random. Closing date is Wednesday, November 23.