Joe Pasquale returns to the Mayflower as Wishee Washee in Aladdin pantomime

Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee in Aladdin at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. Picture: PAUL WATTS/PBWPIX

Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee in Aladdin at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. Picture: PAUL WATTS/PBWPIX

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It’s been 20 years since comic and TV presenter Joe Pasquale last appeared in Aladdin – in Swansea – but he will be playing Wishee Washee at the Mayflower in Southampton for its pantomime this festive season.

‘I’m looking forward to having another go at it,’ says the squeaky-voiced stand-up, who’ll be starring alongside Duncan James of chart-topping pop group Blue, who plays Aladdin.

After the second day I throw the script out of the window anyway. It changes every night for me, it keeps it spontaneous and that’s what the audience likes and what I’m booked for – to put mayhem into it.

Joe Pasquale

‘We’ve never worked together before, but my son knows him quite well and we’ve got mutual friends and whatever, so I’m looking forward to it.’

Joe has already been on the Mayflower’s stage this year – he was King Arthur in Spamalot when that paid the theatre a visit back in spring.

It’s show he says resembles panto in a lot of ways. But while Joe says he finds learning scripts straightforward, he’s not intending to stick to one during the panto’s three-week run.

‘After the second day I throw the script out of the window anyway,’ he laughs.

‘It changes every night for me, it keeps it spontaneous and that’s what the audience likes and what I’m booked for – to put mayhem into it, that element of danger where the audience don’t know what to expect next and the others in the cast don’t know what to expect next either.’

He also has the noble aim of instilling a love of theatre into the next generation through panto: ‘Technology these days has taken over everybody’s lives. Kids are all “look at this game, check out the graphics on that”. I want to say: “Come the theatre”.

‘Instead of watching the telly, get them to come in, see a show and interact with a live performer, and when you get a kid to enjoy that experience, their first time when they go to panto, you’ve got a theatre-goer for life. I think it’s an important part of the kids’ education in the arts.’

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