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Familiar faces back on the stage for Players’ 42nd magical pantomime

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. 
Picture: Nick Butcher.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2018

The cast and crew of this year’s Loddon Players pantomime are putting the finishing touches on the show ahead of tonight’s opening.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Youngsters from the Funky Feet School of Dance. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Youngsters from the Funky Feet School of Dance. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The players are back with their 42nd pantomime, which this year sees the magical tale of Aladdin brought to life on stage.

The family panto has a home-grown script, written by Steve Burton, with additional material added by members of the cast.

Lauren Gray is taking on the lead role of Aladdin, who falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jasmine, played by Rebekah Wick.

The Loddon Players in costume for their Aladdin pantomime. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players in costume for their Aladdin pantomime. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Back in the panto dame role is Anthony Bunting as Widow Twankey, who made a welcome return to the Players last year after an absence of five years.

Another familiar face, Maureen Larkin, is back on the stage again, however not in her usual role of the dame’s sidekick.

Mrs Larkin is the longest serving member involved with the pantomime having performed in every one since 1977.

The Loddon Players in costume for their Aladdin pantomime. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players in costume for their Aladdin pantomime. Picture: Nick Butcher.

She said: “I’m 74 now and I’ve done it for the last 40-odd years, but I’ve got arthritis in my shoulder and two nights of rehearsals on the trot was a bit much for me. So I decided to step down from the sidekick role but I still wanted to be involved because it’s so dear to my heart after all these years. So this year I’ve got a small cameo part.”

The pantomime is being directed by Jackie Bingham, with Vicky Codling as the choreographer and musical director.

Pauline Mason is once again responsible for the colourful costumes, helped by a loyal band of volunteers.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Shane Baxter as the Genie. Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Shane Baxter as the Genie. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The age of the large cast ranges from five up to 74, with performers from the Funky Feet School of Dance once again a valuable addition to the chorus scenes.

Aladdin will open at the Lecture Hall in George Lane, Loddon, tonight, January 12, with the final show on Saturday, January 27.

The show dates and times are: January 12, 7.30pm; January 13, 2.30pm and 7.30pm; January 14, 2.30pm; January 19, 7.30pm, January 20, 2.30pm and 7.30pm; January 25, 7.30pm; January 26, 7.30pm; January 27, 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

The Loddon Players in costume for their Aladdin pantomime. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players in costume for their Aladdin pantomime. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Tickets, which cost £7 for adults and £5 for concessions and children 15 and under, are available from Hazel Catchpole by calling 01508 520162 between 9am and 9pm.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. 
Abanaza (Howard Dover) is arrested by the panto police. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Abanaza (Howard Dover) is arrested by the panto police. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Youngsters from the Funky Feet School of Dance. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. The Loddon Players preparing for their pantomime production of Aladdin. Youngsters from the Funky Feet School of Dance. Picture: Nick Butcher.

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