As one of the true great pantomime dames, Biggins donned full costume and makeup to pose for the media at Novotel Wolverhampton.
Christopher said: “Aladdin really is a magical pantomime for people of all ages. I’m very much looking forward to performing in Wolverhampton especially as this will mark my first panto outing there. Midlands audiences are absolutely fantastic; they are always so friendly and welcoming.”
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"With the wig and heavy make-up it may be difficult to identify the actor dressed up as a panto dame - however once Christopher Biggins opens his mouth the mystery is solved. His big booming voice and infectious laughter means he attracts curious glances and waves from fans - but the showbiz legend takes it all in his stride and stops to talk to his admirers like they are long lost friends.
"This is a phenomenal pantomime, when we did it in Plymouth last year it broke all box office records," says Biggins. "It's like an old-fashioned London Palladium pantomime." Biggins says this is his tenth pantomime as Widow Twankey. "I like Twankey because she is a bit of a sauce pot," he says, chuckling. "She always has a twinkle in her eye."
Life in panto - "It's my 38th or 39th, I've lost count" - should be easier for Biggins. Although he has warned his good friend Joan Collins, who he has persuaded to make her panto debut this year, that it is hard work. "She's been saying: 'I'll have a song. I'll do this and I'll do that'. I told her: 'Be careful, it's exhausting'.
"I know she did long hours on Dynasty, but that wasn't a a solid two hours of energy on stage, twice a day for six days a week. You have to look after yourself. I take vitamins and almost get into training for panto. I'm really looking forward to this year. We have lavish costumes, spectacular sets and an extraordinary 3D genie".
Staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, Aladdin has all of the elements of traditional family pantomime but with the added surprise of an array of outstanding and unmissable visual effects. Wearing 3D glasses at points throughout the pantomime, you can see the magical Genie rise from his lamp and move around the auditorium, rub the magic lamp as it hovers right in front of your nose and see further 3D wizardry transform the stage into a 3D cave of riches, where Aladdin finds his fortune. The show also features a wonderful 3D magic carpet ride sequence and other surprises.
Christopher will be joined on stage by the hilarious Paul Zerdin. Paul is, without doubt, the country’s top comedy ventriloquist. As well as numerous television appearances, including The Royal Variety Show, Tonight at the London Palladium, The Generation Game and Late Night With Jerry Springer, to name but a few, Paul has also staged his own sell-out summer season shows and last year he appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Aladdin opens at the Grand Theatre on Saturday 11 December 2010 and runs until Sunday 30 January 2011. Tickets can be booked on 01902 42 92 12 or online at www.grandtheatre.co.uk.
Photo credit: Graeme Braidwood