Panto time! Richmond Theatre
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and in theatreland that can mean only one thing. Panto time! This Yuletide, Richmond Theatre will be delighting patrons with a star studded and conical hatted production of Aladdin. With lashings of magic, comedy and Christopher Biggins, this year’s offering promises to dazzle theatre-goers. Oh yes it does!
Produced by Qdos Entertainment, Aladdin is a return to the traditional pantomime form, as explained by Count Arthur Strong. “It’s going to have all the traditional elements; broad farce, good storyline, panto villains. I think it’s going to be smashing.” Count Arthur Strong, (known in private circles as Steve Delaney) star of his own Radio 4 series and eponymous BBC sitcom will be playing the Emperor of Peking; a role which he readily admits to ‘Arthurising.’ “The script came with a note saying ‘Tinker away’ so you’ll see a lot of Arthur in the role.”
Richmond has set the celebrity bar high this year, with comedian and TV star Rikki Jay starring as Wishee Washee. Genie of the lamp, Scheherazade will be played by Fascinating Aïda’s Issy Van Randwyck and Widow Twankey will be played by the Dame himself, Christopher Biggins.
Speaking to Afridiziak Theatre News, Biggins shared his excitement at reprising his role as the hapless laundress, adding that Qdos Entertainment has “really made a spectacular pantomime. Wonderful sets, costumes and lots of surprises.” Having recently collected a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to panto, Biggins is well practiced at not giving too much away. However, the legend does let slip that he’ll be making an entrance as a Chinese lantern which apparently “has to be seen to be believed.” According to Delaney, theatregoers can expect lots of audience participation as “Chris likes to engage with people. (Laughs.) We were just having photographs taken outside and he was chatting away to passers-by, so the audience should be prepared to join in.”
The five week run kicks off on Saturday 9th of December, and as Delaney attests, Richmond Theatre is the perfect panto location. “There’s so much history and character in this theatre, it’s a Frank Matcham design. Richmond is exactly the type of theatre for families to come together in.” With flying carpets, sing-alongs and comedy prat-falling, Aladdin is a pantomime classic for all the family to enjoy. Although we didn’t need convincing, Delaney shares another reason for hitching a rickshaw to Richmond this Christmas. “Pantomime is really the only out and out, live variety that we have now and it’s important. Also, it’s Christmas, so it’d be rude not come along.”
Info: To see Aladdin at Richmond Theatre this Christmas, see link