FRIENDS REUNITED FOR PANTO BY ROYLE APPOINTMENT!
Riotous stand up and radio star Steve Royle has already given his best pal and former comedy colleague Ronnie Leek the best Christmas gift ever – a part in this year’s enchanting pantomime Aladdin at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre! Oh yes he has!
The much-loved performer, who entertained countless families at Camelot theme park for over a decade as the wonderfully wacky jester Mad Edgar beside Ronnie’s King Arthur, will now join forces once again with Ronnie on the Grand Theatre stage from Friday 9 December to Sunday 8 January. Steve gave his mate Ronnie the Royle seal of approval when panto producers were searching for just the right actor to play the Emperor in the Arabian fantasy. The cheeky Chorley-based comic juggler and BBC Radio Lancashire presenter says: “They asked me if I knew anyone in the business who would be good for playing the Emperor this year. I knew Ronnie had starred in panto years ago alongside Miranda Richardson and so I texted him to as a joke, never thinking he would say yes and he did!
“Ronnie and I first met when we worked together at Camelot. We got on really well as we have the same sense of humour and are from the same part of the world – he lives just up the road from me! We both moved on to different entertainment work about 15 years ago, but stayed really good mates and our families even went on holiday together this year! He will be great in panto. He’s a very funny man, a great actor and I’m sure he’ll crowbar some of his famous comedy poems into the script somewhere. One of the challenges I’m most looking forward to is making him corpse on stage laughing about once a week!”
Steve is one of the UK’s premier circuit comedians and is a firm favourite with Grand Theatre panto audiences having entertained thousands of families over the years with his legendary improvisational skills and delightfully daft antics. But what outrageous plans has he got for his loveable comedy character Wishee Washee this year? “I’m just working on that now,” he laughs. “At the moment I’m deciding between shadow puppets, gymnastics and slow-motion juggling… There will definitely be some juggling though – maybe Chinese lanterns or vases. I always go into pantomime with three dilemmas – how will I make a big entrance this year (I’ve flown in, fallen in and appeared in the middle of the audience before); what to do different with my juggling spot and the song for the children to get involved in at the end. I’m also missing my little skating partner Dan Whiston from last year – that was brilliant and a lot of fun. Maybe I will have a flying carpet race with PC Pong,” he muses. “And I’ve got to get some jokes in about The Great British Bake Off and Donald Trump…”
“It’s my fourteenth pantomime at Blackpool’s beautiful Grand this year,” adds Steve. “I couldn’t imagine Christmas being any different and if I wasn’t doing panto I would be bored out of my head! It’s part of our family Christmas too. For the last four years there have been at least two of my daughters dancing in the show, but this year there is only the youngest taking part as the older girls are teenagers now and have moved on to other things. That’s a bit sad as I really enjoyed the special time with them, but I’ve got my mate this year instead now!” he laughs.
Steve and Ronnie will join forces with TV soap regular Mark Moraghan (Holby City, Coronation Street); Blackpool lad and BAFTA-winning CBBC star Barney Harwood; Radio Wave’s Hayley Kay; celebrated scriptwriter Philip Meeks (Emmerdale, Heartbeat, Doctors) and comedy magician Mark James in Aladdin’s enchanting tale of magic, mayhem and a most mysterious lamp, live on the Grand Theatre’s famous stage. It’s a fabulous, fairytale treat for all the family this festive season!
Cheeky hero Aladdin sets off on a thrilling quest to win the heart of the beautiful Princess, battle against evil sorcerer Abanazer’s dastardly dark magic and retrieve a mysterious, magical lamp. All the family will love this classic Arabian fantasy full of hit songs, hilarious dance routines and another rollicking good script. It’s jam-packed with music and dance, fun and laughter, a wicked uncle and, of course, an incredible genie. This fabulous, feel-good tale of love and courage is sprinkled with lots of seasonal sparkle and is the perfect way to experience the traditional magic of Christmas.
Will Aladdin and the princess ever find true love? Will the Princess tell her father of Abanazar’s dastardly dark plot? And, more importantly, will Widow Twanky ever get her washing done? Answers to all these questions and more await in the most spectacular pantomime of the season – Aladdin – at Blackpool Grand Theatre!
Following last year’s record-breaking pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Blackpool audiences are guaranteed another year of spectacular sets, dazzling costumes and side-splitting comedy.
Aladdin plays at Blackpool Grand Theatre from Friday 9 December 2016 to Sunday 8 January 2017 starring BBC Radio Lancashire presenter and madcap comic Steve Royle as Wishee Washee; Mark Moraghan (Holby City, Coronation Street) as evil sorcerer Abanazar; CBBC star Barney Harwood as plucky hero Aladdin; Radio Wave’s popular breakfast presenter Hayley Kay as Slave of the Ring; top soap scriptwriter Philip Meeks (Emmerdale, Heartbeat, Doctors) as Widow Twanky; TV actor and comedy poet Ronnie Leek as the Emperor and comedy magician Mark James as PC Pong.
Fly to the Grand Theatre Box Office right now, book your seats and watch the whole family be spellbound by Aladdin. It’s the perfect gift this Christmas…
Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Friday 9 December 2016 to Sunday 8 January 2017
Show times vary, visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/Aladdin
Audio Described and BSL Sign Interpreted performance – Sat 17 Dec 2016 (2pm)
Adults: Band A £22.50/£16.50, Band B £22.50/£16.50, Band C £16.50
Children: Band A £22.50/£16.50, Band B £20.50/£16.50, Band C £15.50
Concessions (Band B) £2 off Top Priced Adult Ticket
Friends of The Grand: £15.00 all Band B performances
Matcham Monkey: All seats £11.00 (Sat 10 & Sun 11 Dec)
Family Ticket: £66*
Senior Pass: £56*
*Only available: 27 Dec(7pm), 28 Dec (2pm), 29 Dec (2pm), 2 Jan (2pm), 3 Jan (7pm), 5 Jan (2pm & 7pm), 6 Jan (2pm & 7pm), 7 Jan (2pm & 7pm), 8 Jan (1pm)
Group discounts available call 01253 743232
Running Time approx. 2hrs 20mins including interval (first few performances may be longer)