X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, and local comedian Ben Nickeless are among the names starring in this year’s festive pantomime at Manchester Opera House.
Promising theatre fans “everything you could wish for in a panto”, a festive production of Aladdin is coming to Manchester city centre next month, and will see Alexandra Burke make her pantomime debut as The Spirit of The Ring, joined by local comedian Ben Nickless as Aladdin’s hapless brother Wishee Washee.
Alexandra Burke may already be a household name in the UK – having sold over five million records with chart-toppers such as Bad Boys, Broken Heals, and Hallelujah – but she has now also established herself as one of the UK’s most sought-after West End leading ladies after starring in The Bodyguard, Sister Act, Chess, Chicago, and is currently The Narrator in Michael Harrison’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at The London Palladium.
Rochdale-born comedian Ben Nickless started his working life playing the comedy clubs in the North West, before his career took off in 2006 when he performed his own style of comedy and impressions on the BBC television series Let Me Entertain You alongside Brian Conley and Christine Bleakley, winning his episode.
Ben returns to the Opera House panto, after having already played Muddles in Snow White and Buttons in Cinderella.
Speaking ahead of the panto’s arrival in Manchester, Michael Harrison – Chief Executive of Crossroads Pantomimes – said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Alexandra has agreed to join us in panto this year [as] she’s a first-class performer and her stunning vocals are going to add a whole new dimension to this year’s show.
“Coupled with the quick-wit of the talented Ben Nickless, Manchester audiences are in for a real treat this Christmas.”
Sheena Wrigley – Theatre Director for the Palace and Opera House Theatres – said: “After having to wait a little longer than usual for the fabulous pantomime to return to the Opera House, this year feels even more special for us all and we cannot wait to see families and friends enjoying the magic once more.
“There’s already a real buzz in the air and adding a truly special performer like Alexandra to the mix only adds to the excitement for this year – it can’t come quick enough.”
Further casting will be announced later in the year.
Aladdin is produced by the world’s biggest pantomime producer, Crossroads Pantomimes, and audiences can expect it to feature spectacular special effects, live music, beautiful costumes and stunning sets.
Aladdin runs at Manchester Opera House from Saturday 11 December 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022.
Tickets prices start at £13, and you can grab yours here.
Featured Image – Palace and Opera