Ann Widdecombe and Mark Read prepare for a panto full of eastern promise in Lowestoft

Aladdin will be performed at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

Aladdin will be performed at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

'I love pantomime and hearing the children laughing – the special thing about pantomime is the audience.'

They were the thoughts of Ann Widdecombe, who will be starring in her fifth pantomime when she takes to the Marina Theatre stage for this year's family pantomime – Aladdin.

She will star as the regal and authoritative Empress of China in the shows, which run from Wednesday, December 13 to Monday, January 1, and are sponsored by Roger Harrod's Karpet and Furniture Kingdom.

Fasten your seat belts for a magical carpet ride to Old Peking where soap-sud silliness has got Widow Twankey and her sons Aladdin and Wishee-Washee in a lather! Can the Slave of the Ring and the Genie of the Lamp help our hero win the day?

There's only one way to find out – visit the Marina for a pantomime packed full with fun, laughter, surprises, songs and loads of audience participation. Ann added: 'I love how the cast always gel together and also improvise a few things – it's just lovely, Pantomime enables us to make kids laugh and it couldn't be much jollier.'

Ann will be accompanied on stage by pop star Mark Read, known to millions as a member of hit boyband A1 and for their trio of number one singles Take on Me, Caught in the Middle and Same Old Brand New You.

With two decades in showbiz among his many credits, Mark is set to play the title character Aladdin.

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'I am very excited as this is the first time I have played Aladdin and it's my first time in Lowestoft,' Mark added.

'I always look forward to getting into character, as I'm a singer, performer and musician, most of the time I'm producing in a studio or performing at a gig.

'To do something slightly different from what I normally do is just amazing. I have even had people come from all over the world to see me in pantomime including from Norway, Spain and Japan.'

Returning by popular demand for a third year running is funny man Terry Gleed.

'I am so excited – pantomime is my favourite time of the year – to come back to same venue for three years running is absolutely delightful,' he said.

'I have generated lots of friendships in the area and the audiences are really up for it!'

Also starring in the shows are Fenton Gray, Mia Richards, Aaron Spendelow and Darren-Clewlow Smith.

Aladdin runs at the Marina Theatre for 32 performances with tickets, which start from just £7, on sale now via or at the box office on 01502 533200.

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