Telford panto cast can't wait to return to stage for Aladdin

Pantomime is returning to Telford with a bigger-than-ever show as audiences get ready to shout 'He's behind you!' this Christmas.

The cast of Aladdin at The Place Theatre in Telford is ready for the festive fun
The cast of Aladdin at The Place Theatre in Telford is ready for the festive fun

The cast of Telford's pantomime has been announced and they are back with flying carpets, life-size genies and a local cast and crew.

Last year was a tough year for the entertainment industry as most shows were cancelled and popular productions like pantomimes were postponed.

Actors, crews, musicians and everyone involved in putting on a show like Shone Production's Aladdin, have missed the lights and the magic of the theatre.

James Shone, who runs Shone Productions, said they always have the best audience response in Telford and everyone is looking forward to bringing the magic back when the show hits Oakengates on Wednesday, December 8 to Sunday, January 2.

"I think this is the biggest panto we've had in Telford to date," James said. "We wanted to come back with a bang.

"The cast are a very talented bunch of people. A lot of them are local as well, and the crew and musicians.

Sario Solomon, winner of the BBC's Let It Shine, is Aladdin
Tom Roberts as Abanazar

"It gives the show a more local feel and then people involved will come up with the local references for the script – just makes it that much more enjoyable for the audience.

"We have a new set coming, including the Genie and a flying carpet which will fly out into the audience."

James, who has been putting on pantos since he was 15, said they had 20,000 people watch their production of Jack and the Beanstalk in 2019.

"Pantos are 60 per cent of theatre revenue and it brings in the families," he added. "It doesn't just bring in revenue for the theatre, but for local businesses, restaurants and pubs because some people even travel to watch."

Carl Dutfield as Wishee Washee

Carl Dutfield plays audience favourite Wishee Washee, and said everyone has missed the feeling of being back on stage and in costume.

"Aladdin is a real classic," he said. " I think we all got a bit fed up last year.

"I am so happy to be back doing what I love. The industry really took a hit and now everything is back open and running again I think a lot more people will be heading to the theatre again.

"I think more people than ever will enjoy it – we missed it and took it for granted maybe when we did have it. It will rejuvenate people's love and passion for the theatre."

X Factor finalist Sam Lavery as Princess Jasmine

Sam Lavery, a former X-Factor contestant, is playing Princess Jasmine. She has been thrilled to put on the dress and make-up and get back on stage.

"It's even nice to be back in the dressing room and getting ready for a show again," she said. "There is having a break and then pushing nearly two years of no theatre, which is just no fun really.

"It's such a nice atmosphere this time of year. Sometimes a pantomime is a child's first theatre experience, and the audience are always involved in the show."

Chloe Barlow plays the Spirit of the Ring

Sario Solomon, who plays Aladdin, and Tom Roberts, who plays Abanazar, said they had missed theatre greatly.

Tom said: "It is one of the most interactive forms of entertainment. I think we all just love to dress up really.

"Everything is over the top and colourful and great. It's a very special environment."

Tickets are on sale now at 01952 382382 or on The Place Telford website.

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