Aladdin panto at the New Theatre, Broadway EMN-211214-205813009
Aladdin panto at the New Theatre, Broadway EMN-211214-205813009

Meet the Genie bringing some magic to Aladdin

Comedy actress Julie Coombe will be bringing years of panto experience to New Theatre when Aladdin opens tonight - but she expects Peterborough audiences to bring the party.

By Brad Barnes
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 5:18 am
Updated Thursday, 16th December 2021, 12:45 pm

Julie will be playing the Genie in the production which runs until December 30, and despite being something of a veteran - or a “little bit older than 18” as she puts it - she says she is incredibly excited after a difficult couple of years for the industry.

“It is going to be spectacular and magical,” she says during a break from rehearsals.

“I have played here (the city) many times with my comedy shows (look out for Hormonal Housewives) and audiences are always up for a laugh. Peterborough always brings the party.”

And speaking to her, it sounds like there is going to be plenty for young and old to enjoy.

She says: “My background is comedy so you can expect Genie to be a bit madcap, a bit zany but with a huge heart. Aladdin is a great boss and I love him and want to look after him.”

It has been quite a journey for Julie who has gone from Principal Girl to Principal Boy “because I could sing the Barry White Parts”; the Wicked Queen and Carabosse “I loved playing the baddie”; and an Ugly Sister, but had now “gone to the light” and was taking on the role of the goody; “I have more sequins than Vegas” she quips.

“I have done it all apart from The Dame” she adds. “And here we have got the brilliant Bobby Crush who I absolutely adore.”

Apart from panto Hall-of-Fame inductee Bobby, the cast features former pop princess Sabrina Washington from Mis-Teeq, BGT funnyman Ricky K plus comedian and stage actor Rufus Hound.

“I will take full credit for putting them together,” joked associate producer Lee Waddingham, who said he was really looking forward to “unleashing the adventure” on New Theatre audiences.

“It is quite a coup bringing Bobby Crush, a legend in the world of panto, and I am very excited for the people of Peterborough,” he says.

“Another coup is bringing Rufus, of course, for his first panto. I am really looking forward to that.”

There is more to panto than just those on stage getting the applause, Lee is keen to point out.

“The public see what goes on on stage but there is a huge team effort to make the magic happen.. the illusions, the flying carpet... they are our backstage unsung heroes,” he says.

Tickets from newtheatre-peterborough.com

The children’s ensemble from Aladdin has been cut from the production following a decision taken yesterday.

A spokesperson for Red Entertainment, which is putting on the show with Prime Pantomimes and New Theatre, said: “Our first priority is to the health and safety of our cast & crew (both juvenile and adult).

“The decision was made to best protect those involved in the pantomime and the families they live with under the government’s latest guidelines to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“We’d like to reassure patrons that the cast including Rufus Hound, Bobby Crush and Sabrina Washington are continuing with the run of this year’s Aladdin pantomime.”

“I have played here (the city) many times with my comedy shows (look out for Hormonal Housewives) and audiences are always up for a laugh. Peterborough always brings the party.”

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