It’s that time of year when the colourful lights illuminate the city and the smell of mulled wine lingers in the cold air. Everyone around you is dashing for last minute decorations and searching for the perfect gift. Their Christmas tree has to be the prettiest and their presents must be the best. Away from the hustle and bustle is home, where we rest our feet, drink hot chocolate – preferably with marshmallows – and wait for the winner of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” to be announced. We remind ourselves that this time of year can be stressful for a lot of people. But what is most important are family and friends. And what better way to celebrate the festivities and come together than over a pantomime?

© Norwich Theatre Royal
© Phil Sharp

Norwich Theatre Royal is showcasing Richard Gauntlett’s Aladdin this winter. After his previous adaptation of Sleeping Beauty achieved rave reviews, I have no doubt that this show will bring tears and laughter to all. Pantomime is a must during the festive season and the promise of alluring costumes, outrageous set design and family fun will guarantee your greatest Christmas yet. This year, “Hollyoaks” actor Steven Roberts is returning to Norfolk to star as everyone’s favourite street rat, where he will perform at the same theatre he visited as a young boy; Roberts decided there and then that he was to pursue a career in acting. Pantomime is impressionable like that. You always want more ice cream and more glitter. Roberts regards the tradition as ‘nostalgic in a nice way’. And I think I know what he means. Perhaps it’s the fact that Roberts is coming home, or that this is my first Christmas away from my family. But the shouts of “he’s behind you!” and “oh no you’re not!” can make you feel young and mischievous again.

Theatre Royal Norwich Panto 2018. Photo Simon Finlay Photography

I look forward to seeing Roberts shine in this comedic role. In an interview with John Bultitude for Norwich Theatre Royal he expresses his excitement for touring. He simply cannot wait to see new parts of the country and experience a variety of ‘culinary delights’ and new ‘local surroundings’. Knowing that the cast enjoys performing and travelling with the show as much as the audience does to spectate, Aladdin seems to be the perfect treat this winter. Attending alone or with friends, this pantomime will make you feel at home. A classic story of love, adventure and coming of age, this show will have an impact on all ages. Whether it makes you cry or inspires a career in acting, know that you’re missing out if you don’t make it to the theatre from Wednesday 12th December 2018 to Sunday 13th January 2019.

What do you think?