Wednesday, 23 January 2019

They think panto season’s all over... Oh no it isn’t!

They think panto season’s all over... Oh no it isn’t!

YOU think it’s all over — the pantomime costumes and scenery stored away for another year? Oh no it isn’t!

Stand by for the annual Corn Exchange pantomime — the highlight of Wallingford’s January calendar, this time in its 70th year.

This year it’s Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves by Alan Frayn and it’s been in concentrated rehearsal since October.

The show opens on Friday, January 18, and runs for 15 performances including three Saturday matinees. Its producers, The Sinodun Players, are hoping for another sellout in the 176-seat theatre.

Last year their Cinderella sold all but a handful of seats and once again picked up the award for the best pantomime in Oxfordshire. Ali Baba has a cast full of highly experienced panto performers including Fiona Huntingford-Ledger as Mustafa, Zoe Nielsen as Ali Baba, Richard Doughty as Fatima and, on loan from the Henley Players, Adam Brimley as Asbad. The resident band has also been working hard and this year includes Pete Orton, Paul Cleverley, Sue Huntingford-Ledger as musical director and welcomes Andy Malnick on bass..

The show’s director Caroline Wilkes says: “This is the biggest and most ambitious thing we do every January and we throw ourselves into it. Our audiences have come to expect a high level of entertainment from us and we do our best to make sure they get it. That’s probably why they keep coming back year after year.

“Some long-distance audience members have been known to time family visits so that they coincide with the pantomime — it’s a big event for the town and the surrounding area.”

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is booking from Friday, January 18 to Saturday, February 2.

For tickets and times, call the box office on (01491) 825000 or visit www.cornexchange.org.uk

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