By Graham Chalmers
In local terms, it’s perhaps the closest thing in popularity to a new James Bond film - yes, Harrogate Theatre’s spectacular panto is back.
Like a 007, the details are still being tightly guarded but the Harrogate Advertiser can reveal a few things about this family favourite and annual moneyspinner for the theatre which will be launched on Tuesday, December 1.
1. It’s the classic Aladdin story set in the Far East about the genie of the lamp, inspired originally by one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights).
2. Tim Stedman is back in the cast. Harrogate Theatre’s king of panto will return for an incredible 16th time.
3. The script is in safe hands. It’s a joint effort between two stalwarts of Harrogate Theatre - chief executive David Bown and associate director Phil Lowe, who also directs.
It’s the seventh time they’ve worked together in this way.
4. There will be a flying carpet and we’re told it does work.
Phil Lowe said: “We are really excited about this year’s panto, as tickets are selling super-fast and rehearsals are about to begin.
“We’ve got a really strong cast raring to go and the set is looking fabulous.”
Renowned for its high standards and its traditional approach, Harrogate panto produces packed houses and sold-out notices each year.
Although defiantly family-friendly, the panto is far from stuck in the past.
To keep the kids happy, the show usually includes some modern pop songs - plus classic hits of the past to keep adults happy.
Young members of Harrogate Youth Theatre will feature in Aladdin, including Hannah Margerison who has the role of Pandora (Wishee’s pet Panda and bestest friend in the whole wide world).
Co-writer and director Phil Lowe said: “Panto season is such an exciting time. Members of our Youth Theatre are involved this year . We have some amazing special effects in store, too.”
A link for Harrogate Theatre panto tickets is below.