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Sinbad the Sailor set to sail into Stratford

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 November 2016

Alim Jayda (Captain Greenbeard) and Josephine Melville (Clanker) in rehearsal for Sinbad the Sailor. Picture: Robert Day

Alim Jayda (Captain Greenbeard) and Josephine Melville (Clanker) in rehearsal for Sinbad the Sailor. Picture: Robert Day

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Theatre Royal Stratford East director Kerry Michael knows that panto is the venue’s famed jewel thanks to its witty scripts, loveable performances and subversive yet inclusive messaging.

Things look to be much on track once again this year, with a new telling of Sinbad the Sailor.

“We do not often see this story as a Christmas show,” explained Kerry ahead of the show’s arrival at the Stratford venue on 28 November.

“It has young people at the heart of it. It is a magical world where anything can happen.

In the panto, Sinbad and his sister Sinbadda voyage to mysterious destinations, meeting kind souls and baddies, while finding their way with “words and storytelling”.

“They go on a rites of passenge journey and discover who they really are,” explained Kerry.

The Theatre Royal Stratford East pantomime is known for treading a careful path between ingenuity and crowd-pleasing performances.

Last year’s Robin Hood had many tongue-in-cheek cultural laughs.

“There are some jokes about building walls,” said Kerry about this year’s script. “We have got to make it cool so some of the jokes are sophisticated.

“We take it really seriously. They are the biggest, and probably the most important, shows that we do every year.”

Animation, music and projections also serve to appeal to families and children “to help the audience go on this journey with us,” he said.

Theatre-goers can expect a wide array of characters to pop up on stage such as Captain Greenbeard, Sultan and, of course, a genie.

Familiar faces will also be back. Michael Bertenshaw, who provided delicious wickedness as Prince John last year is back as another prince – this time it’s Naw-Ze Uzz – while Gemma Salter plays Funky.

Newcomer Julian Capolei is taking on the lead role and despite it being his professional acting debut, Kerry describes his performance as “very funny”.

“You can bring a date or colleagues and you know you will have a good time,” he said.

The show runs from November 28 to January 21. Tickets start from £10, concs from £8, Call 020 8534 0310 or visit stratfordeast.com


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