WITH the production of Aladdin becoming the Theatre Royal's fastest ever selling panto, it is the latest show that has made St Helens the place to be for pantomime.

Despite the difficulties facing the Arts industry in recent years, St Helens Theatre Royal has been attracting audiences from far and wide thanks to its variety of performances and hysterical pantomimes.

As previous pantos have brought the house down at Christmastime, the Aladdin production had a lot to compete with, but after its almost 70-date tour became the theatre's fastest-ever selling panto, it's clear that the appetite for panto is as ripe as it has ever been in St Helens (oh yes it is!).

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St Helens Star: Lewis Devine (right) is the Theatre Royal's resident comicLewis Devine (right) is the Theatre Royal's resident comic (Image: David Munn)
With Aladdin set to have its final hurrah this weekend, actor and resident comic Lewis Devine said that it is the amazing casts and production teams that have helped to grow St Helens as the home of panto.

Lewis, originally from Southport, said: "The [Aladdin] cast has been absolutely amazing this year. We are close to doing 70 shows but they have been so consistent, and I can honestly say that there has not been a bad show on this run.

"It's the production teams who get the best out of us because they don't take their foot off the gas. With the 3D carpet, magic mirror, and screen elements, Aladdin has been one of the most technical shows that we have done.

"Then as the resident comic at the theatre, I try to put my own jokes and ideas into the script to keep things fresh. We all give our all in every show and work together to make it the best it can be."

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St Helens Star: Aladdin has been the Theatre Royal's fastest ever selling pantoAladdin has been the Theatre Royal's fastest ever selling panto (Image: David Munn)
It is this collaboration between the entire production team, from the actors and writers to the producers and costume designers, that have made the pantomimes such a success in St Helens, Lewis said.

Lewis, who also runs a theatre company in Liverpool, added: "We have had such an amazing response this year, and I've had constant messages from parents who have come with their kids and loved it.

"I love that because there aren't as many opportunities for young people in the Arts as there used to be, so to have a theatre that isn't a million miles away is such a great thing, and it's up to us to deliver a rollercoaster ride to bring them back.

"Each year, we say how are we going to top the last one, but by aiming for that high standard we somehow manage to do it!"

St Helens Star: Aladdin has been a hit with families and kids this ChristmastimeAladdin has been a hit with families and kids this Christmastime (Image: David Munn)
To buy tickets for the last Aladdin shows at the Theatre Royal, you can follow this link. More information can be found on Lewis Devine's Theatre Company here.