WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Everything we know and love about the fairytale favourite – with a punny panto punch. Yes, there’s a wish-granting genie, flying carpets and a magic lamp – but there’s also a flamboyant fairy, glittering gowns and stacks of silly sketches. The tale comes to life in ‘Old Peking’ – a traditional-looking Chinese village, with Widow Twankey’s laundry shop at its heart.
It’s a story of star-crossed lovers caught up in a conflict with evil sorcerer, Abanazar. With the help of The Spirit of the Ring, Empress Ming and daft-as-a-brush duo, Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee, will this slapstick squad beat the baddie and bring home the ultimate panto prize – happily ever after?
Packed with laugh-out-loud comedy, sparkling sets, dazzling dance routines and glittering costumes, this is a spectacular seasonal adventure the whole family will love. It’ll be the magic carpet ride of your life…
WHO’S IN IT?
Louie Spence is as sassy and as fabulous as ever, taking on The Spirit of the Ring role with a touch of twinkle as he hops, splits and pirouette across the stage. Fun, flamboyant and as fancy as they come, he’s a brilliant addition to Darlo’s panto family – and best of all, his ability to mock himself has the audience in stitches from start to finish.
Last year’s returning stars include Zoe Birkett, Eric Potts, Liam Mellor and Robin Askwith. Liam Mellor is the star of the show this year, settling in to his silly character with ease. Wishee Washee keeps the kids entertained, but also makes his adult chums chuckle with cheeky innuendos and near-the-nuckle one-liners. Together with Eric Potts (as Widow Twankey and Director – wow), the duo hold the whole production together – whether it’s with audience interaction, vibrant musical numbers or just having a great time on the stage!
The beautiful Zoe Birkett (Pop Idol and West End star) plays Princess Jasmine. Her sparkling stage presence and her stunning sound brings the fairytale to life, and youngsters watch on in awe as she takes on pop favourites such as The Greatest Showman’s Rewrite the Stars.
Carl Douglas makes a very charming Aladdin and Robin Askwith is a very convincing baddie – boo hiss! Special mention goes to Empress Ming (played by Rachel Izen) – a corker of a character who brings effortless humour to the show.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT?
All the usual panto silliness with seasonal sparkle. There’s plenty of audience interaction in this one – and we’re pleased to see little ones voluntarily pulled up on stage for light-hearted music performances and goodies. It’s no coincidence that Widow Twankey is in fact the director of this show – Eric Potts is a hoot! Delivering loads of local laughs, larger-than-life costumes and plenty of quick-wit, we fall in love with the characters straight away, and it feels just like a festive night out with friends.
We particularly loved the nod to everyone’s favourite household friend – the Amazon Echo (Alexa) – as Wishee Washee picks songs apart, giving them a whole new meaning. Relatable, riveting and ridiculously funny.
The set is also worth noting – it’s sensational this year! With no expense spared, prepare to be taken on a majestic magic carpet ride, taking you from Darlington to the dazzling streets of Old Peking in no time!
WHO SHOULD SEE IT?
Everyone should see this show. It’s the perfect opportunity to get the whole gang together and get down to the beautiful new Darlington Hippodrome for a festive fairytale extravaganza.
WHEN IS IT ON?
Now, until Sunday 6 January 2019. Don’t miss it!