Aladdin – January 2010

Aladdin – January 2010


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Cast List


Helen Wrigglesworth

Widow Twankey

Cevin Barker

Wishee Washee

John Murphy


Robert Longward

The Emperor of China

Paul Tankard

Princess So-Shi

Emily Bowers

PC Pong

John Hanson

PC Ping

Elliott Austin

The Genie of the Lamp

Ammar Hussain

The Slace of the Ring

Aimee Binns


Jennifer Normanton

Senior Dancers

Charlotte Clayton, Abbie Galashan, Megan Graseley, Emily Hewson, Ashley Hudson, Charlotte Murphy, Emma Newsome, Jessica Sutcliffe, Sophie Tankard

Carpets – Performing Thursday and Saturday

Charlotte Bottomley, Lucy Coldwell, Charlotte Copley, Anna Guest. Georgia Holden, Aimee Holdsworth, Emily Mitchell, Lucy Mitchell, Charlotte Tankard, Beth Thompson

Carpets – Performing Friday and Saturday

Darcy Bowers, Rebecca Carmichael, Imogen Gibson, Gabrielle Kent, Amber Lockwood, Harriet Midgley, Grace Perryman, Courtney Richardson, Holly Tasker, Victoria Taylor

Behind the Scenes

Rehearsal Accompanists

Phillip Baxter, John White

Stage Director

John Gilroy

Stage Manager

Richard Mitchell

Stage Crew

Mike Ramsden, Steve Sykes, David Wozencroft, Chris Ellis

Scenery Design, Construction & Painting

Tony Hiley, Richard Mitchell

Lighting & Electrics

Robert Wood & Team


Glynn Pringle


Linda Holroyd, Shelagh Jones, Mary Meaker


Peggy Ellis, Karen Higgins, Jean Ramsden


Pam Birkby, Pauline Mann, Sandra Siswick


June Longward & Glynis Wrigglesworth

House Manager

David Ellis

Publicity & Advertising

Margaret Hallatt, Andrew Longward


Joan Hindson, Irene Sykes


Andrew Longward, Richard Mitchell

Programme Sales

Joan Hindson, Sue Holdsworth

Children’s Matrons

Karen Higgins, Louise Kent, Jane Thompson

After ‘Cinderella’ the pantomime of ‘Aladdin’ is the second most popular in the country. The story originates in the ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’, and in the pantomime version it is set in China.

The recent Disney film of ‘Aladdin’ has caused some confusion to young audiences, as the action is set in ancient Arabia, and the villain of the piece is called ‘Jaffar’, an evil vizier and magician.

The pantomime version predates the film by almost two hundred years. The first recorded performance of ‘Aladdin’ was in 1788, at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. In the Arabian Nights the villain was not named, but the 1813 production of the pantomime called him ‘Abanazar’, by which he is still known today.

The Pantomime tells the story of Aladdin, son of a poor widow in Peking. Originally she was called ‘Widow Ching Mustapha’, and the part was first played by a man, James Rogers, in 1856.

During the 1850’s, Victorian London was the destination for the first clipper ships that supplied tea to the London tea houses. The fastest ship gained the largest bonus, and at the time the ‘Cutty Sark’, now on view in Greenwich, was the holder of that title. There was a fascination for the Chinese style in architecture, fashion and entertainment. In the Pantomime version of 1861 the name of Aladdin’s mother became ‘Widow Twankey’, in H.J. Byron’s production. Twankey was a popular tea at this time, from the Tuon Ky region of China. Another character in this version was called ‘Pekoe’.

Since the 1860’s the Widow Twankey, as she is now known, has become a laundress, allowing scope for slap-stick scenes in the Laundry, along with her other son ‘Wishee Washee’. The increase in Chinese laundries in London’s East End, and in Liverpool led to these comedy scenes. The magical part of Aladdin comes from the two Djinn or Genies, the Slave of the Ring, and the Genie of the Lamp. The original Genie gave three wishes, but in the pantomime Aladdin is free to use his newly found powers for as long as he holds the lamp.

Other characters include the Principal Girl, traditionally called Princess Balroubadour but more recently, after the Disney Film, Princess Jasmine.

The Pantomime is one of the most spectacular, often with lavish scenery, a glittering ‘Transformation’ scene in the cave of jewels, and very often a flying carpet to add to the magic.