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Cast announced for Corn Exchange Panto

Today Corn Exchange Newbury has announced the cast for its family pantomime, Aladdin, written and directed by Plested and Brown, which runs from Friday 27 November to Sunday 3 January.

George Olney, who is originally from Hungerford and whose recent credits include Fiddler on the Roof (West End) and the UK and international tour of Saturday Night Fever, will play Aladdin. Philip Elvy and Ben Barrow return, having delighted audiences in last year’s Sleeping Beauty. Philip Elvy is back as the dame, this year playing Widow Twankey, and Ben Barrow (last year’s secret prince, Tony the Phoney) plays the Genie.


Ben Harlow, whose musical performances include Mamma Mia, Beauty and the Beast and Legally Blonde, plays the evil Abanazar, and Susan Harrison, who is a member of Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, plays Wishee Washee.


Nikita Johal, who has recently performed in Broken Wings (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Spring Awakening (Hope Mill Theatre) joins as Princess Jasmine with Emily-Mae, who played Pippi in Royal and Derngate’s Pippi Longstocking, as Celia Siri.


Completing the cast are William Beckerleg, who has performed in the national tours of Madagascar and Summer Holiday, and Gleanne Purcell Brown who has recently performed in The Producers (Royal Exchange Theatre) and the UK tour of Spamalot.


Following the success of last year’s Sleeping Beauty, writing and directing team Plested and Brown (Clare Plested, Adam Brown and Amanda Wilsher) are back with an anarchic and hilarious take on Aladdin.


Plested and Brown said: ‘We’ve gathered a spectacular cast this year – it is one big bubble of brilliance. Amazing singers, hysterical comedians and even a local home grown actor with Hungerford-born West End star George Olney leading the cast as Aladdin.’


Aladdin is designed by Mark Walters and Holly Hughes returns as choreographer. Sean Green is Musical Supervisor and Harry Haden-Brown is Musical Director with lighting design by Joseph Stairs and sound design by Tom Malone.


The Corn Exchange pantomime has become a tradition for families in Newbury and the surrounding area, and the venue have been pulling out all the stops to make this year’s pantomime a possibility. In partnership with Arena Seating, the Corn Exchange main auditorium seating has been rebuilt to improve the capacity whilst still adhering to social distancing measures. The new layout will have more space between rows and each household group will be kept separate using dividing Perspex screens.


Corn Exchange is following all industry and government Covid-19 guidelines. The pantomime cast will be in a bubble with regular Covid testing, audience members will need to wear masks throughout the performance unless they are exempt, reduced numbers are permitted in the auditorium and household groups will be kept separate.


The Corn Exchange has also received a grant from the Theatres Trust Reopening Fund which has assisted towards its reopening costs, including a fogging machine for deep cleaning, screens and barriers.


Audiences can book with confidence, knowing that if they are unwell with Covid-19 symptoms or having to self-isolate, their tickets can be transferred, credited to their account or refunded.


Full of songs from across the decades, plenty of jokes and, of course, a few surprises along the way, the Corn Exchange is thrilled to be sharing its traditional pantomime fun with the community again this year.


Aladdin plays at the Corn Exchange Newbury from Friday 27 November 2020 – Sunday 3 January 2021. Tickets £22.50 - £26 (£20 - £25 concs, £16 Preview Performances, £18.50 - £20.50 Super Saver Performances and £25 - £26 Adult Nights). To book tickets call the Corn Exchange Box Office on 0845 5218 218 or online at www.cornexchangenew.com/panto (calls cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge).

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