Cleared for take off and ready to ride the magic carpet West End actor Benjamin Armstrong is set to make his panto debut in the title role of this year’s magical family pantomime Aladdin at Lighthouse .
“I’ve only actually seen one panto in my life so I’m very new to the whole panto scene, but I’m excited to start with something as big as Aladdin in Poole,” he says.
“It was nice stepping into Aladdin’s shoes for the first time at the photo shoot last week – they felt pretty comfortable to be honest. And oh my gosh, the carpet was so magical – it genuinely looked like it was flying. It was really good fun. When I was on it I felt like a superhero!”
Benjamin trained at the Royal Academy of Music on a Disney Theatrical Productions Scholarship, graduating with a Master’s in Musical Theatre in 2021 and going on to appear in a variety of different productions all over the country.
Written and directed by Chris Jarvis, who will also be appearing as Widow Twankey, Aladdin features Ionica Adriana as Princess Jasmine and Bournemouth-born Josh Haberfield as the comic character Wishee-Washee. Pantomime Award winners Andrew Pollard and Alim Jadavji, whose winning double act as the ugly sisters in Cinderella last year stole the show, are returning to play the villain Professor Pocus and Genie of the Lamp respectively.
“This will be my first time working with everyone,” adds Benjamin. “I don’t know a great deal about the show yet – other than I’m ziplining through the audience, which I’m really excited for – and from what Chris has been telling me although the panto of Aladdin is slightly different to the story everyone knows, the kids and the families will already know the character and will have an understanding, so they’ll be on our side.
“I’m looking forward to spreading some good Christmas joy and laughter. Every show will be a completely different experience with whoever is in the audience and I’m sure we’ll all be playing on stage, making each other laugh, having a good time. It’ll be hard work but great fun. I feel like it will be a very silly few weeks – I’m really excited to get to work!”
Aladdin opens on Thursday 7 December and runs until New Year’s Eve. Tickets are on sale now at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk, or call 01202 280000.