Aladdin pantomime cast on performing in 'magical' show
- Credit: Mark Sepple
Actors performing in this year's festive panto at a Hornchurch theatre described the show as "magical".
Aladdin has been reimagined in a production written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Douglas Rintoul for the Queen’s Theatre.
Showing until January 2, the show features original music and lyrics written by Tom Self and the classic story follows Aladdin as he falls in love with Princess Jasmine.
A cast of eight actors and those behind the scenes bring to life the enchanting tale.
Dominic Gee-Burch, who plays Bjӧrn Nastee, revealed that the show is made up of “technical actors” who all play live instruments on stage.
The 33-year-old plays the drums and guitar in the performance and said the live music element “sets it apart from other pantos”.
He added: “You’re seeing these larger-than-life characters come to life and they are the ones bring the music alive as well.
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“It’s not just a backing track or band at the back – it's truly special.”
Dominic said the cast rehearsed for three weeks followed by three days of technical rehearsals before the first performance.
He called the costumes, designed by Richard Foxton, “incredible”.
In the show Dominic enjoys playing a “huge guitar solo” while “wearing high heeled boots and kind of a Donna from Mamma Mia style costume.”
He said: “The original music, by Tom Self, is what drew me to this show. It’s brilliant and Tom is a wizard when it comes to this type of thing.
“You will struggle to find a show that’s more enjoyable than this one, it’s got something for everyone.”
Stacey Ghent, who plays The Sultana of Hornchurchopolis, agrees.
She said: “It’s not like watching a panto, but instead a musical story. It’s stunning and the music goes so beautifully with the story.”
This performance will be Stacey’s first at the Queen’s Theatre and she said it has been a “dream”.
“The staff are gorgeous and the audience are all so thrilled to be here,” she added.
Reflecting on the three weeks of rehearsals, Stacey said it’s been incredible that the cast have managed to learn the unique music in time.
Her highlight of the show is when Jasmine goes off to meet Aladdin as it’s “a beautiful song and section of the show”, but she added, “there are so many highlights to the production”.
During the show Stacey plays the trumpet and drums, which are instruments she has played since she was a child.
She said: “We’ve so far had such a variety of audiences and to see that they react in pretty much the same way is magical, much like this production.”
The Genie of the Lamp is played by Lucy Keirl who said she was “thrilled” to be among the cast in the production and shared that the team are “absolute stars”.
Calling Tom Self a “genius”, Lucy said this is the first panto she has been in which has had music written specifically for it.
She added: “All the songs are so fun and as camp as anything. There is something for the whole family to enjoy on different levels.”
In the performance Lucy plays the flute and keyboard, a skill she was taught by her mum who was a music teacher.
Lucy’s highlight of the show is when the actors come out and wave to the audience before each performance.
“It makes me a bit emotional and it’s so lovely to see people are out there and so ready to engage with it.”
Summing up the production, Lucy added: “It’s funny, magical, with all kinds of theatrical magic and wizardry going on, but most of all it’s got a really big heart.
“Everyone involved is so lovely and excited to connect with our audience and I think we could all do with a bit of human connection at the moment."
Booking details can be found here: https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/show/aladdin-2/