It’s one of our most favourite times of the year – Panto Time at Norwich Theatre Royal.
For 2018, a soap and stage favourite, a star actor who has appeared in a host of popular TV shows and one of Britain’s youngest TV presenters are set to join the cast for Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime.
Rik Makarem and Kiera-Nicole Brennan will play Abanazar and The Genie, respectively in the festive family spectacular, Aladdin, which runs from December 12th 2018 to January 13th 2019.
Rik is best known for playing the role of Nikhil Sharma in ITV’s primetime hit Emmerdale. With over 600 episodes, often playing across both comedic and dramatic storylines, Nikhil was an instant and firm favourite in the show and fans were left devastated when the character left the Dales for Canada in 2016. Rik also took on another high-profile role, starring as the troubled junior doctor, Sebastian Grayling in the BBC’s Casualty in 2016-17, as well as guest starring in other top TV series like Torchwood and Foyles War. No stranger to the theatrical world, Rik played Emmett in the acclaimed production of The Dishwashers opposite David Essex, and previously he appeared on the Norwich Theatre Royal stage in the Peter James mystery Dead Simple starring alongside Tina Hobley and Michael McKell in 2015. The multi-talented performer is also a Formula 1 enthusiast and a passionate songwriter.
Rik is very excited to be joining the Aladdin cast. He said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Norwich Theatre Royal, a wonderful spirited theatrical home with such warm audiences. Abanazar is a role I’ve enjoyed playing before and I’m already practicing my evil laugh! Panto is a charming experience, full of important themes and hidden morals, capturing the imagination of children and tugging on the heartstrings of the adults. I love that we all have licence to be a kid again. It’s simply magical”.
Meanwhile Kiera-Nicole is, at 19, the youngest presenter on Channel 5′ regularly hosting its popular children’s strand Milkshake. A former student of the world-famous BRIT school in London, she is a talented singer and dancer and won her high-profile TV job straight out of drama school.
Kiera-Nicole is very excited to be taking on the role. She recalled: “When I found out I was going to be The Genie, I thought it was a character who was normally a man, but it will be a great challenge for me to bring something new to it. Everyone assumes genies are supposed to be male, but I can prove there is no gender for a genie.” It will also give her the chance to engage in one of the great passions of her life, sharing magic and happiness with a younger audience. “I am so thrilled to bring such a big and bright bubbly character to the stage, so I will be excited to actually doing that, one of the best parts of being in a pantomime is that it can be the first experience of theatre for children. They see it at a very young age and it makes the decision in their heads that they want to keep coming back. It brings a lot of joy and it will also bring back memories for me of going to pantomime.”
The pair will join former Hollyoaks and The History Boys star Steven Roberts, Norwich Theatre Royal panto stalwart Richard Gauntlett, and Norfolk-based entertainer Ben Langley in the show.
Steven Roberts plays Aladdin and it will be particularly poignant for him: “Seeing the pantomime there was where I first fell in love with the theatre. It was my earliest memory of seeing something on stage. My family used to live near Lowestoft and we used to get on the train to see it. I remember it being so colourful and fun”.
So, Aladdin is going to be magical for Stephen in more ways than one this Christmas.
Oh yes it is!
Wednesday 12th December to Sunday 13th January.
Tickets £10-£24.50. Under-threes free. Discounts for Over-60s, Under-18s, and Groups.
Signed performance on Sunday 6th January at 1pm.
Audio-described performance on Saturday 5th January at 2.30pm.
Captioned performance on Sunday 6th January at 5pm.
To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000
Relaxed performance especially suited to those with autism and their family and friends on Friday 4th January at 5.30pm. Tickets for this performance can be booked in person at our box office or by phone on 01603 630000.