Hammersmith residents should keep their eyes on the skies in November as Aladdin and his magic carpet fly in for some festive fun in the Lyric’s panto.
The Lyric’s Christmas spectacular runs from 19 November to 7 January and promises colourful characters, live music and enough laughs, high jinks and mayhem to keep the whole family entertained.
Supported by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the Lyric theatre has restored their popular annual panto into the borough’s cultural calendar. And with the full cast of Aladdin announced this week, it appears the magical Genie has answered your wishes for a star-studded show.
As part of its long term partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the Lyric will provide 2,000 free tickets for Aladdin to local schoolchildren, as well as its Free First Night scheme for people who live or work in the borough.
And for the first time in the Lyric’s panto history, the venue will also provide a relaxed performance of Aladdin, catering for people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs, on 3 January.
Cllr Sue Macmillan, H&F Cabinet member for Children and Education, said: “Panto season is a magical time of year for all the family, and we’re delighted to be working closely with the Lyric to ensure all of our residents have a chance to enjoy this wonderful new production of Aladdin.
“Through the Free First Nights scheme and the 2,000 free tickets being offered to our local schoolchildren, we hope to bring this festive treat to local people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Award-winning comedian Vikki Stone, known for television and radio appearances including Uncle and The John Bishop Show, will ham it up as evil magician Abanazar, while Karl Queensborough will return to the Lyric stage as Aladdin after playing the Prince in last year’s production of Cinderella.
Queensborough has appeared in several of the Lyric’s Christmas pantos since 2009, as well as a host of other theatre productions and television shows including Casualty, Sniggers With Attitude and Wednesday’s Child.
Allyson Ava-Brown (Doctors, Casualty, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) will capture Aladdin’s heart as Princess Jasmine, while James Doherty (London Road, In The Loop, Veep, The Thick of It), will don his best pair of false eyelashes as the resident panto dame, the Widow Twankey.
Other cast members announced include Arthur McBain as Wishy Washy, Malinda Parris as the Genie and Dale Rapley as the Emperor, as well as a six-strong young ensemble.
Joel Horwood will pick up the reins again to write this year’s panto and Ellen McDougall, newly appointed artistic director of the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, returns to direct the show.
“The Lyric panto is now an annual tradition packed full of festive fun and this year’s show, Aladdin, is no exception,” said Sian Alexander, executive director of the Lyric.
“It has all the much loved hallmarks of a great Lyric Christmas show and reunites last year’s brilliant creative team with a top cast. Christmas is one of our favourite times of year and we look forward to celebrating with our local community.”
For full performance times, more information on Free First Nights and to book tickets, visit www.lyric.co.uk.