The show goes on for Portsmouth theatre hit by burglary

Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards

Eddie The Eagle flies high as he tells his life story

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A PORTSEA theatre isn’t letting a recent break-in stop it from getting into the festive spirit and has launched its first pantomime, Aladdin.

The Groundlings Theatre was trashed by thieves who fled with a safe containing £1,000, as reported in The News yesterday.

GENIE-US The cast of this year's pantomime, Aladdin, at the Groundlings. Picture: Allan Hutchings (132863-527)

GENIE-US The cast of this year's pantomime, Aladdin, at the Groundlings. Picture: Allan Hutchings (132863-527)

But the show must go on and 24 hours later organisers launched their first festive show.

Artistic director Richard Stride, who stars as Widow Twankey, said: ‘That money would have gone on costumes or helped towards the production, but we won’t let it stop us.

‘It’s a blow, it felt like we were finally climbing the mountain and then we almost fell down. But the show will go on.’

The historic venue, which is well-known as the building where Charles Dickens’ mother went into labour, was opened as a theatre three years ago.

Running from Thursday, December 12 to Saturday, December 28, the pantomime will tell the story of Aladdin, the beautiful Princess Jasmine and the Genie of the Lamp. Aladdin is granted three wishes after rubbing the magic lamp.

Starring as Princess Jasmine is Titchfield-based actress Emelye Dwyer. She said: ‘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.

‘It’s going to be a traditional Georgian pantomime, and it’s dinner theatre too which is a bit different. It definitely makes it more intimate.’

Lead by a troupe of professional actors, children from the local area will also get their chance on stage.

Emelye says: ‘It’s a real community event. I’m just so happy to be here at Christmas supporting my local theatre.’

Playing the evil Abanazar is Jon De Ville, who has previously performed in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium.

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

Go to groundlings.co.uk or call (023) 9273 7370.

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