Dunmow pantomime is marking 80 years of shows – oh yes it is!

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 November 2017

Carrie Craig as wicked Uncle Abanazar in Dunmow Panto's Aladdin. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Carrie Craig as wicked Uncle Abanazar in Dunmow Panto's Aladdin. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Saffron Photo 2017

You don’t have to be a man to be a really wicked uncle.

Teenager Alice Cooper as The Genie in Dumnow Panto's Aladdin. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO Teenager Alice Cooper as The Genie in Dumnow Panto's Aladdin. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Carrie Craig, who was last year’s Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz will play Abanazar in this year’s Aladdin, the all-singing, all-dancing show from Dunmow Pantomime Group.

Carrie’s teenage daughter, Alice Cooper will play The Genie of the Lamp in this family show which this year celebrates 80 years of putting on pantos in the town.

It all started in 1937 with Cinderella put on by professional performer Lilian Judges who ran the Marcelle School of Dancing in Great Dunmow. Lilian and her sisters were the professional performers, called The Marcelles, until Lilian stopped touring and opened a dance school.

One of Lilian’s pupils, Belinda Savill is the panto’s current director and producer. Belinda first joined Lilian’s troupe on stage in pantomime 55 years ago at the age of six. She played a “dear little Robin” in Babes in the Wood. Belinda, who also makes most of the costumes, took over directing the panto, from Lilian, some 27 years ago.

She says: “My father still has the Robin costume somewhere in an attic. We always put on a traditional pantomime with plenty of audience participation and slapstick but we have updated scripts with a lot of topical jokes this year and there will be music by One Direction and Bruno Mars.”

It’s a family affair, Belinda’s daughter, Katie Beard will play one of the Chinese policemen and Katie’s husband Rob is Widow Twankey. Other Dunmow panto favourites appearing again include Mollie Blake as Aladdin and children from Dunmow Dance School who .

From Saturday, December 30 to Saturday, January 6. The venue is Foakes Hall, tickets are £10 for the front of the hall and £9 for the back from Starr Lite Dance Shop in the market place or www.dunmowpanto.co.uk or 07769 684 839. Shows at 2pm on December 30, 3pm on December 31, 5pm on January 1, 7pm on January 5, 2pm and 7pm on January 6.

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