Magic carpet is coming to The Groundlings Theatre

The cast of this year's pantomime, Aladdin, by Groundlings Theatre, Portsea.''''Picture: Allan Hutchings (132863-527)
The cast of this year's pantomime, Aladdin, by Groundlings Theatre, Portsea.''''Picture: Allan Hutchings (132863-527)

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Christmas is always a fun time for the artistic director of Groundlings Theatre Richard Stride, as it means he gets to wear a dress again.

It may have only been running for just more than three years, but the theatre at Portsea is putting on its first pantomime this Christmas, and Richard is playing the dame, Widow Twanky.

‘I love playing the dame in pantomimes,’ says Richard who has appeared in pantomimes across the country.

‘I love the laughs and all the innuendos, but my favourite thing is how comfortable I find the skirt.’

Running from tomorrow until December 28, the festive production will tell the story of Aladdin, the beautiful Princess Jasmine and the Genie of the Lamp.

Richard says: ‘Widow Twanky is the over-the-top and boisterous mother of Aladdin, who is really full of herself.

‘She can’t take her eyes off the mirror and I think she’s a really funny character.’

He adds: ‘I think I speak for the whole cast in saying we are very excited to get started with the show.’

Starring as Princess Jasmine is Titchfield-based actress Emelye Dwyermore and playing the evil Abanazar is Jon De Ville, who has performed in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium.

Emelye says: ‘I played Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with the Groundlings Theatre Company as a child and I’m excited to be back.’

Led by professional actors, children from the area will also perform on stage.

Other cast members include Graham Hill as Aladdin and Mark Flynn as PC Pong.

Tickets: £10 to £16 from the Groundlings Theatre, Portsea, on (023) 9273 7370 or go to groundlings.co.uk.