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Record number attend annual pantomime featuring Ann Widdecombe and Mark Read

PUBLISHED: 11:49 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:58 05 January 2018

Aladdin has gone down as the Maria Theatre's most successful pantomime to date. Picture: Pamela Raith.

Aladdin has gone down as the Maria Theatre's most successful pantomime to date. Picture: Pamela Raith.

Pamela Raith

The Marina Theatre’s latest production has gone down as the venue’s most successful to date.

The show starred former Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe. Picture: Pamela Raith. The show starred former Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe. Picture: Pamela Raith.

Aladdin, which ran for 32 performances in Lowestoft, starred A1 boyband heartthrob Mark Read in the hero’s role and former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe - who has since entered the Celebrity Big Brother house - as the Empress of China.

More than 12,600 people - a record number - went to see the show, which was the highest grossing pantomime produced by the Marina Theatre and award-winning producers Paul Holman Associates.

Popular funnyman Terry Gleed returned to Lowestoft for the third consecutive year. Picture: Pamela Raith. Popular funnyman Terry Gleed returned to Lowestoft for the third consecutive year. Picture: Pamela Raith.

Performances also featured popular funnyman Terry Gleed, who appeared in his third consecutive Lowestoft pantomime, Mia Richards as Princess Jasmine and the returning Fenton Gray as Widow Twankey.

The main cast was completed by Aaron Spendelow as the Genie of the Lamp, Deearna McLean as Slave of the Ring, and Darren Clewlow-Smith in the role of Abanazar - Aladdin’s arch-nemesis.

A1 boyband heartthrob Mark Read was in the hero's role, whilst Fenton Gray returned to play Widow Twankey. Picture: Pamela Raith. A1 boyband heartthrob Mark Read was in the hero's role, whilst Fenton Gray returned to play Widow Twankey. Picture: Pamela Raith.

The classic tale received rave reviews in the press and on social media throughout the festive period and there was even a marriage proposal live on stage. Thankfully, she said yes.

Lee Henderson, chief executive of the Marina Theatre, said: “To hear that so many people enjoyed our fantastic family pantomime makes it all worthwhile for us at the Marina Theatre.

Mia Richards featured as Princess Jasmine. Picture: Pamela Raith. Mia Richards featured as Princess Jasmine. Picture: Pamela Raith.

“I would like to thank everyone who came to see Aladdin in what turned out to be a record year for us. In this ever-changing world, your support helps us to remain a vital community resource for our town and allows us to continue attracting top quality performers.

“Our fabulous and talented cast were a pleasure to work with.”

Aladdin's arch nemesis Abanazar was played by Darren Clewlow-Smith. Picture: Pamela Raith. Aladdin's arch nemesis Abanazar was played by Darren Clewlow-Smith. Picture: Pamela Raith.

Visitors to the Marina will be flying away to Neverland for the Marina’s 2018 pantomime after Peter Pan was announced as the theatre’s next fun-filled adventure.

“We hope you can join us for Peter Pan, which will be showcased at the end of this year,” added Mr Henderson.

More than 12,600 people - a record number - went to see the show at the Marina Theatre. Picture: Pamela Raith. More than 12,600 people - a record number - went to see the show at the Marina Theatre. Picture: Pamela Raith.

“We also look forward to presenting our diverse programme of events to you for the rest of the year – with something on offer for everyone.”

Tickets are already available for Peter Pan, with seats starting at just £8.

Anyone looking to book tickets can visit the Marina Theatre website or call the box office on 01502 533200.

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