Dean Gaffney looking forward to Thameside panto

The 2011/2012 pantomime at the Thameside Theatre, Grays is Aladdin starring Dean Gaffney (from EastEnders and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here) as Wishee Washee and Brian Belo (Winner of Big Brother 8 and Presenter of Big Brother’s Little Brother) as the Genie and Wain Douglas as Widow Twankey! It runs for 53 performances between Wednesday 7 December 2011 to Wednesday 7 January 2012.

Aladdin will be produced by Polka Dot Pantomimes this year – who are well known for their incredible production values and high standards. There will be new scenery, new costumes, new faces in our all star cast and plenty of audience participation that will keep audiences of all ages entertained and amused. The Thameside Panto is a real story with real characters – not just a string of variety acts. Aladdin is a classic story that children will know from various film and television versions. There will be some fantastic singing and dancing and a large dose of comedy, sparkle, magic and spectacle thrown in for good measure!!

In a hidden cave close to Peking lies a lamp of magic and wonder. Within the lamp lives a Genie who can make unimaginable dreams come true. Abanazar is an evil magician who wants to use the lamp to make him ruler of the universe – but he cannot open the cave as it can only be opened by a boy of good virtue – Aladdin!

Widow Twankey and her other son, Wishee Washee work in their laundry whilst the Emperor of China and his daughter Princess Jasmine are desperately trying to find her a worthy suitor. Aladdin wants to be that suitor and embarks on an adventure so that he can claim his bride.

Will Abanazar thwart his plans and steal the Princess for himself? Will Aladdin be able to find the lamp and make his dreams come true? Will Widow Twankey be destined to a life as a washer woman and will Wishee Washee ever do a full days work? Grab your seat for an adventure of a lifetime and a magic carpet ride that will leave you shouting for more!

Note from the Director, Darren Maddison

A Pantomime at the Thameside Theatre is a wonderful experience for the whole family – and the entire team at Polka Dot are thrilled to be presenting this year’s spectacular production of Aladdin. I am delighted to be returning to Grays as I performed in pantomime here for seven years alongside the great Damian Williams, who taught me many skills and helped me immensely in the art of pantomime.

You will see assembled on stage a wonderful cast of West End performers and we are particularly pleased to welcome Dean Gaffney and Brian Belo to the Thameside Theatre. Dean is best known for his many years in Eastenders but is also an extremely accomplished stage actor and is well versed in pantomime. Brian is bound to leave audiences rolling with laughter with his boundless energy and Essex humour as the irreprrssible Genie of the Bling. We also auditioned over 75 children from the local area who danced and sang their hearts out to gain one of the 24 places in our chorus teams. They will be joined by graduating students from Performers College as our professional dancers, who will wow audiences with their dancing prowess.

This year’s production will be the most spectacular ever staged at the Thameside Theatre as we have built a brand new set, created amazing special effects and made dazzling new costumes. We have also written a brand new script which includes lots of laughs, a great storyline and plenty of audience participation.

I would like to thank the technical staff at the Thameside who have already surpassed all expectations to ensure that Aladdin will include the latest lighting techniques and be a visual spectacle. Our thanks also go to Mark Allinson and his dedicated staff that are all working hard to ensure that this pantomime runs smoothly and ensure that every customer has an enjoyable experience when they visit the theatre.

Finally, I would like to thank the people of Thurrock for once again choosing to support their local theatre. In difficult financial times we really appreciate everyone choosing to spend an afternoon or evening with us. For those who haven’t yet booked tickets we have extended the early bird offer until November 2011 – so book now to guarantee your seat on a magic carpet ride of a lifetime! Book now to avoid disappointment and get the best seats in the house.

To book your tickets you can telephone us on Tel: 0845 300 5264 or you can pop along to the theatre and book your tickets with our helpful Box Office staff. The Box Office is open 10.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays 10am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm. Alternatively, you can go on-line at www.thurrock.gov.uk/theatre any time of the day or night, where you can purchase up to 9 tickets.

Cast

Wishee Washee Dean Gaffney

Genie of the Bling Brian Belo

Widow Twankey Wain Douglas

Aladdin Gareth Mitchell

Princess Jasmine Madeline Stephens

Emperor of China Jeff Crossland

Slave of the Ring Shonna Damms

Abanazar Darren Tough

Dancers Hayley Murray

Sharnie Billingsey

Jack Brookfield

Lewis Calcutt

Run Time

2 hours 15 minutes with interval.

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