Panto part is dream for Tom

A YOUNG actor who says he has been obsessed by pantomime since he was a child is to play Wishee Washee in Aladdin being staged at the Gorleston Pavilion this Christmas.

A YOUNG actor who says he has been obsessed by pantomime since he was a child is to play Wishee Washee in Aladdin being staged at the Gorleston Pavilion this Christmas.

Tom Howes, 23, said it will be his first professional panto and that as far back as he can remember he always wanted to get up on stage. At the age of eight he appeared in his first pantomime with the Doncaster Little Theatre, the premier amateur society in his home town.

He trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and upon leaving, two years ago he went straight into Alan Bennet's The History Boys, on tour and in London's West End. It was there he met Desmond Barrit the writer and director of Aladdin. A friendship was quickly set up and their shared love of pantomime quickly became evident.

Mr Barrit said: “We seemed to do nothing but talk about pantomime. I had never met anyone before who was as interested as I was in this type of theatre. I soon realised that Tom was a natural for the part of Wishee Washee in Aladdin. His singing voice and great comedy timing impressed me and he was quickly signed up.”

Although Tom has had a busy couple of years doing his first film Red Riding, his first Shakespeare and a couple of TV jobs including The Chucklevision Christmas Show he says he is more excited about pantomime than anything else.

Tom said: “Wishee Washee is a great part and the comedy scenes in this pantomime are particularly funny. Although I'm really excited about starting rehearsals, I'm also terrified, but a new job is always terrifying. My first professional panto and my first Christmas in Norfolk is something to look forward to.”

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Also appearing on the bill are Lisa Hunter and Helen McDermott. Aladdin runs at the Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston from December 15 to January 4 playing every Sunday.