Davro and Strictly star ready for panto action

Northampton Panto launch of Aladdin at The Grosvenor Centre, with Bobby Davro and Brian Fortuna.

Northampton Panto launch of Aladdin at The Grosvenor Centre, with Bobby Davro and Brian Fortuna.

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Veteran pantomime performer Bobby Davro and Strictly Come Dancing star, Brian Fortuna, will be appearing in a production of Aladdin at the Royal & Derngate.

Children’s TV favourite Basil Brush and Hi-De-Hi actor, Jeffrey Holland, also feature in the star-studded line-up.

Mr Davro, who will be playing the role of Wishee Washee, has starred in many television shows, but he most recently featured in ITV1’s Dancing On Ice and as the loveable rogue Vinnie Monks in Eastenders.

Aladdin will be his 27th pantomime in 30 years, and he said he would be putting a lot of his own brand of humour into the show.

He said: “I do keep up to date with my comedy and will have a lot of topical references in the show. People say pantomime looks dangerous as it seems all off the cuff but it is not actually because it is really well rehearsed.

“I do like being creative on stage and interacting with the audience. “

“We keep to the same story every show but if I see an opportunity to do something different I will.”

Mr Fortuna was a dancer in the Oscar-winning film The Aviator before staring in the American show Dancing With The Stars and Strictly Come Dancing.

He said he was looking forward to the unique challenge of performing in a pantomime, something that doesn’t exist in his American homeland.

He said: “I see the pantomime as a challenge and something I really wanted to do. In America we don’t really have anything like it.

“I’m used to interacting with the crowd while I’m performing. Pantomime is all about having a good time.”

Mr Fortuna, who left Strictly Come Dancing in 2009, said he wanted to “add more strings to his bow”.

He added; “Strictly Come Dancing was a big part of my life but I wanted to do other things as part of my long-term career.

“I wanted to act and sing and chose this year to get out and do it.”

Since leaving Strictly, Mr Fortuna has spent time as the lead choreographer on the BBC3 show Dancing On Wheels, pairing disabled and able-bodied contestants.

He was also the principal dancer in West End show Burn The Floor and his performances earned him a 2011 What’s On Stage Award nomination.

Staged by Qdos Entertainment, Aladdin will feature the traditional flying carpet, stunning sets and spectacular costumes.

Aladdin runs from Friday, December 9, to Sunday, January 8.

Tickets can be booked by calling the Derngate box office on 01604 624811.