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Hackney Empire panto set to be a real hoot

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:18 05 October 2010

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THE only Olivier Award-nominated pantomime dame will be treading the boards in the Hackney Empire s famous Christmas cracker starting this weekend. Clive Rowe will star as Widow Twanky in this year s production of Aladdin, which will be the last show at t

THE only Olivier Award-nominated pantomime dame will be treading the boards in the Hackney Empire's famous Christmas cracker starting this weekend.

Clive Rowe will star as Widow Twanky in this year's production of Aladdin, which will be the last show at the Empire before the theatre goes dark for nine months.

After last year's smash-hit production of Mother Goose, for which Clive was nominated for a prestigious Olivier Award, the team, including writer and director Susie McKenna, Empire stalwarts Kat B and Tameka Empson and composer Steve Edis are back and hoping to end the year with a bang.

"This is my eighth pantomime at Hackney over 11 years and I always love it," says Clive. "It's like coming home to a family, to all the people I love, and we always have a great time together. They really are a fantastic group of people."

The classic adventure story of Aladdin and his magic lamp will be brought to life with flying genies, a singing camel, tap dancing pandas and all the usual comic mayhem and magical, musical performances.

Chicago star Anna Jane Casey will play Aladdin to Clive's Widow Twanky and last year's good fairy Sharon D Clarke will lend her voice to the production.

"I hope that everyone from five-95 will enjoy this show," Clive adds. "It's a traditional Christmas panto full of music, dancing and laughter and I hope it'll make people's jaws drop in amazement.

"It's important that we keep panto alive and entertain people to the best of our ability, not just so they come back to the pantomime next year, but so they think they might come back to the theatre to watch something else during the year."

Aladdin is on at the Mare Street theatre from Saturday, November 28-Saturday, January 9. Performance times vary.

Tickets cost £9-£22.50 from www.hackneyempire.co.uk or 020 8985 2424.

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