Like a dog with a new role...

The stars of this year's Opera House pantomime, Dick Whittington; Ashleigh & Pudsey ' Alice Fitzwarren and her dog
The stars of this year's Opera House pantomime, Dick Whittington; Ashleigh & Pudsey ' Alice Fitzwarren and her dog

It’s the ultimate tale of wags to riches when Dick Whittington – this year’s family pantomime opens at the Opera House in Manchester next Friday.

Starring as Alice Fitzwarren – and her dog – will be Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey.

Appearing alongside them will be West End and TV star Jodie Prenger as Fairy Bowbells, Ben Faulks (aka Mr Bloom from CBeebies) as Dick Whittington, Opera House panto favourite Tam Ryan as Idle Jack, panto dame Eric Potts as Sarah the Cook with Spamalot’s Samuel Holmes taking baddie duties as King Rat.

Dick Whittington tells the tale of a young man and his cat on an exciting quest for fame and fortune.

It features all the traditional pantomime ingredients; songs, a live band, dance routines, slapstick and audience participation.

The run – to January 5 – will include the first ‘relaxed performance’ of panto at the Opera House on January 2.

It is aimed at anyone who would benefit from a relaxed performance environment including those with an autistic spectrum condition, sensory and communication disorders or a learning disability.

There are likely to be some small changes to the show, in terms of lighting and sound cues, but the overall content will not change.

There’s also a more relaxed attitude to noise in the auditorium, in order to reduce anxiety and ensure a safe, enjoyable theatre visit.

Bookers will be sent a visual story, be invited to attend a familiarisation meeting in the theatre and there will be a designated ‘chill-out’ area for use during the performance.

Box office: 0844 871 3018 or www.atgtickets.com/manchester

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