Extra! Extra! Pickering Musical Society adds two more Aladdin shows at Kirk Theatre

John Brooks’s Abanazar, left, Stephen Temple’s Wishee Washee, Marcus Burnside’s Widow Twankey and Danielle Long’s Aladdin in Pickering Musical Society’s Aladdin

PICKERING Musical Society has added extra performances to this month’s pantomime run of Aladdin at Kirk Theatre, Pickering.

This winter’s spectacular show, charting Aladdin’s rise from humble beginnings to riches beyond his wildest dreams, now opens with a 7.15pm performance on January 18, while a Sunday matinee on January 21 is a new addition too.

“With the success of ticket sales this year, it looks like an additional night will have to be added next year too,” says director Luke Arnold.

Setting out on his quest with a magical lamp, a trusty genie and wishes aplenty, only Aladdin can take on his evil uncle Abanazar. Can he conquer the magical cave and who will win the heart of the princess in the most spellbinding battle of good versus evil?

Jack Dobson, Danielle Long, centre, and Millie Fisher in a scene from Pickering Musical Society’s Aladdin

The 2024 cast features Pickering panto favourites such as Marcus Burnside as the dame, Widow Twankey, and Stephen Temple as simple son Wishee Washee.

Panto regulars Danielle Long and Courtney Brown reunite as the principal boy and girl, Aladdin and Princess Lotus Blossom, while Paula Paylor and Rachel Anderson play comedic double act Minnie Wong and Winnie Wong. John Brooks, a relative newbie to the society, reprises the villain’s role, this year playing Abanazar. 

The principals will be supported by a large chorus of society members, along with students from the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance, accompanied as always by a live band, directed by resident musical director Clive Wass. 

All in for Aladdin: The full cast for Pickering Musical Society’s 2024 pantomime

“Last year’s pantomime broke all box-office records and was a real high watermark for us,” says Luke. “This year we took the decision to add an extra performance to our production run and amazingly, with the support we have received already, we are once again on track to beat last year’s record!

“Working with a combined cast and production team of over 100 people, it really has been a joy to direct, and audiences can be assured of a fantastic, fun-filled production.”

Pickering Musical Society in Aladdin, Kirk Theatre, Pickering, January 18 to 28. Performances: 7.15pm, except January 22; 2.15pm, January 20 (four tickets left), 21 (sold out), 27 (six tickets) and 28 (nine tickets). Box office: 01751 474833 or thelittleboxoffice.com/kirktheatre.

Pickering Musical Society pantomime’s principal boy and girl: Danielle Long’s Aladdin and Courtney Brown’s Princess Lotus Blossom

Pickering Musical Society to stage Aladdin panto at Kirk Theatre from January 18 to 28

Stephen Temple, who will play Wishee Washee, in rehearsal for Aladdin with Imogen Smith and Poppy Coulson-Arnold. All pictures: Robert David

PICKERING Musical Society cast members are deep into rehearsals for next month’s pantomime run of Aladdin at the Kirk Theatre, Pickering.

Once more the production will be directed by resident director Luke Arnold, who has teamed up again with musical director Clive Wass and welcomes a new choreographer, Leah Nichols, to his production team.

Leah is no stranger to the Kirk Theatre, having performed with the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance in many of the society’s pantomimes.

“It’s been an exciting few weeks, welcoming Leah to our team,” says Luke. “We’re all really enjoying working with her and the energy she has brought to the production.”  

Comic duo Rachel Anderson, left, and Paula Paylor: Playing sisters Minnie and Winnie Wong in Aladdin

As in previous years, the society has chosen a script by Ron Hall, who was a life member of the society and who wrote many scripts over the years. This one follows the usual tale of Aladdin, transporting audiences to Old Peking, where the story unfolds.

One of the most popular pantomimes of all, the thrilling story of a boy, a lamp and a genie has kept panto-goers spell-bound for generations. Families visiting the Kirk Theatre next month can look forward to a fun-packed show full of comedy, singing, dancing, slapstick, dazzling special effects, beautiful costumes and audience participation aplenty.

The cast will feature society regulars Danielle Long as Aladdin, Courtney Brown as Princess Lotus Blossom and Millie Fisher as Slave of the Ring. Linda Tester will return to the stage as the strong-willed ruler, the Empress of China; Will Smithson will play her bodyguard, One Long Pong; comic duo Paula Paylor and Rachel Anderson will appear as sisters Minnie and Winnie Wong and Jack Dobson will be the Genie.

Pickering Musical Society cast and crew in rehearsal for Aladdin

“We’ve got everything that you could wish for in our spectacular production of Aladdin,” says Luke. “A fantastic script by the fabulous Ron Hall; the most boo-able of baddies in the form of John Brooks, and dame extraordinaire Marcus Burnside returning to the Kirk Theatre stage.

“Oh and of course, the one and only Stephen Temple himself as Wishee Washee. With lavish sets and costumes, sensational song-and-dance numbers and lamp loads of laughs, your wish is our command!”

Pickering Musical Society in Aladdin, Kirk Theatre, Pickering, January 18 to 28, 7.15pm nightly except January 22; 2.15pm, January 20, 21, 27 and 28. Box office: 01751 474833 or via kirktheatre.co.uk. 

Danielle Long, left, and Courtney Brown rehearsing their roles as Aladdin and Princess Lotus Blossom