Jonny’s on the Buttons

Jonny Freeman as Buttons with Sarah Thomas, of Last of the Summer Wine fame, as Cinderella's magical Fairy Godmother. Photo contributed.

Jonny Freeman as Buttons with Sarah Thomas, of Last of the Summer Wine fame, as Cinderella's magical Fairy Godmother. Photo contributed.

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Actor Jonny Freeman promises to be a sure-fire hit with audiences when he takes on the role of Buttons in this year’s classic Buxton Opera House family pantomime Cinderella.

Best known for his role as spymaster Frank London in the hit CBBC sci-fi adventure series M.I. High, Freeman will don the bellboy costume for three weeks of festive fun as Cinderella’s best friend.

And the children’s favourite is looking forward to playing a starring role in the Opera House showcase, which runs from December 12 until New Year’s Day.

Freeman said: “Cinderella is probably the most iconic pantomime and everyone remembers Buttons.

“He’s a lovable clown. People are always attracted to low status characters who try hard.

“In spite of being a lowly servant, Buttons attempts to compete with a dashing Prince for Cinderella’s affections and you have to admire him for that.

“It also makes him ripe for comedy and Buttons is a very funny character.

“I hope he’ll be funny in Buxton this year.”

In M.I. High - which begins a seventh series in January - Freeman plays a school caretaker who leads a double life as a spymaster in charge of a team of young secret agents.

And while the show has undergone many changes since Freeman joined back in season three, he admits it has also become more ambitious.

“M.I. High began as very much a comedy show but it has gradually become darker, with more emphasis on the spy storylines and a lot more action,” he explained. “That said, it’s important to keep up the laugh quota and not become too dark.

“I’m really confident that the latest series will be the best yet as I think the writers have struck a great balance between comedy and spy action.”

When he is not appearing on TV, Freeman works as a stand-up comedian.

His excellent aptitude for off-the-cuff funniness as an improviser quickly earned him an impressive reputation.

He added: “Although I’m passionate about the craft of acting, my principal passion is comedy. I’m fascinated by what makes people laugh and why.

“My act is more of a dialogue with the audience than a rehearsed script and I have to fill in the blanks by improvising.

“Unlike many comedians, I love being heckled. I like things being a little on the edge.”

n Cinderella comes to Buxton Opera House from December 12 until January 1, 2014.

Tickets, priced from £16 to £21, are available from the Box Office on 0845 127 2190 or online at www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.