There's magic in the air as the cast of this year’s family pantomime Aladdin starts to take shape at Lighthouse.
With panto ‘genie-us’ and CBeebies star Chris Jarvis returning to write and direct, as well as appear as Widow Twankey, last week it was announced that Pantomime Award winners Andrew Pollard and Alim Jadavji, whose winning double act as the ugly sisters in Cinderella last year stole the show, are coming back to Poole to play the villain Professor Pocus and Genie of the Lamp respectively.
This week, Lighthouse is delighted to announce Ionica Adriana will play Princess Jasmine and Bournemouth-born Josh Haberfield will be the comic character Wishee-Washee.
“One of the things I love most about panto is never knowing where the next Christmas will take you, so I’m really excited to be venturing from all the way from North Yorkshire to Poole!” says Ionica. “I wonder if it has an infamous joke shop like Scarborough!?”
Stage and screen actor Ionica is arguably best known from her appearance as a judge in All Together Now, BBC One’s singing competition fronted by Rob Beckett and Geri Halliwell, but last year she made the documentary Ceausescu’s Children for BBC Radio 4 in which she returned to the land of her birth to uncover its past and her own history.
Until the age of two-and-a-half, Ionica lived in an orphanage in Cluj-Napoca and became one of the first children to be adopted from Romania after the fall of the hated dictator Nicolae Ceausesco in 1989.
Josh Haberfield, who studied Drama at Poole’s Jellicoe Theatre, last appeared at Lighthouse in 2019 as drummer Jerry Allison in The Buddy Holly Story and has been back on the road in the same show this year. He is currently appearing in Channel 5’s Mimi’s World on Milkshake TV as Joe.
Excited at the prospect of what will be a home town run in panto, he says: “I can’t wait to be performing back on my old stomping ground this panto season at Lighthouse in Poole!”
Welcoming Ionica and Josh, Lighthouse Head of Programming Tim Colegate adds: “Every year we pride ourselves on having a supremely talented cast and Ionica and Josh fit right in!
“We’re lucky to have been able to tempt Ionica all the way down from Yorkshire and to be able to bring Josh home for Christmas. I know our wonderful audiences will give them a great Poole welcome.”
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.