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Audience stunned when Robbie turned up at theatre
Features Editor of The Argus Jakki Phillips recalls seeing Robbie Williams in panto.
She said: "It's not often you get to see a pop legend like Robbie Williams on stage at the Theatre Royal - particularly in panto.
"It was back in 2000 when I was the entertainments reporter at The Argus. I was leaving work at about 7pm and just as I was packing my bag and shutting down my computer, the phone rang and someone said "I can't tell you my name but I've just heard that Robbie Williams will be making a guest appearance in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal tonight".
"I instantly grabbed a camera then phoned the box office to find out what time the show started and if I could get a ticket.
"The only seat they had was literally in the last row of the highest circle behind a pillar and to top things off, the panto started at 7.30pm which meant I only had half an hour to get from Hollingbury into Brighton, park and grab my tickets.
"Needless to say I was very stressed and red faced by the time I sprinted up to the box office but while I was catching my breath in the queue, a very kind man asked if I would like a ticket.
"His daughter's friend was ill and so he had a spare - in the second row! I took my seat, which was in the middle of the row, and as the lights dimmed, I started chatting to the woman next to me who turned out to be from a local blind organisation and all the people between me and the aisle were blind.
"I told her that a famous pop star was due to be making a surprise appearance and that as soon as he walked on stage I would need to jump up and dash to the aisle so I could run to the stage and take a photo.
"She said that she wouldn't be able to see when the pop star walked on stage so we hatched a plan that I would squeeze her arm and she would pass that squeeze along all her blind friends and they would all stand up so I could dash out, grab a photo and then dash back to my seat. It all worked like a dream.
"Robbie came on and sang She's The One while Robin Cousins roller bladed around the stage, very surreal, and I got my exclusive for the next day's paper.
"Robbie made another surprise appearance on Boxing Day but no one recognised him because he was dressed in a monkey suit."