Pantomime – Wolverhampton 1997

Aladdin, at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton. Cannon and Ball starred as PC Wishee and Sergeant Washee.

With Anthony Engelman, John Altman and Sinitta
13 Dec 1997 – 8 Feb 1998

Cast and running order

Genie – Mel Muir
Abanazar – John Altman
Widow Twankey – Brian Cant
Aladdin – Anthony Engelman
Sergeant Washee – Tommy Cannon
PC Wishee – Bobby Ball
Empress – Anne Duval
Princess – Sinitta
So-Shy – Sharon Kiel

Chorus – Joanne Gaskin, Wendy Grimshaw,
Melanie Iredale, Sharon Kiel,
Mark Martin, Craig Thomson

Children supplied by Classic Academy of Dance and Walsall Dance Academy

Act One
Abanazar’s Hidden Lair
Peking Market
Beyond the City Gates
The Garden of the Royal Palace
The Dark Ravine
Inside the Cave of the Lamp

Act Two
Widow Twankey’s Wash My Nosh
The Dark Ravine Once More
The Garden of the Royal Palace
Abanazar’s Hidden Lair
Beyond The City Gates
The Grand Finale

The Band
Musical Director/Keyboards – Rick Coates
2nd Keyboards – Chris Taylor
Bass Player – Ron Humphrey
Drums – Steve Doneathy

Director & Choreographer – Alan Harding
Writer – Ian Billings
Company Manager – Stuart Dornford-May
Deputy Stage Manager – Helen Gorton
Assistant Stage Manager – Pippa Losh
Assistant Stage Manager – Loren Wilcox
Wardrobe Mistress – Sharon Ryal
Sound Design Engineer – Peter Flynn
Transport – Paul Mathew Transport Ltd
Dry Ice – Ice Cooling
Pyrotechnics – AC Lighting & Mainstage
Additional Sound – The Music Company

Hosiery provided by Beatties of Wolverhampton
Cannon and Ball’s Harley Davidson motorbike has been kindly loaned by Motex, Worcester.


Brochure coverBrochure

Cannon and Ball

Cannon and Ball writeup

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are Britain’s funniest and most successful double act. In a career spanning over 30 years they have achieved a string of honours that puts them among the all-time greats of showbusiness and given millions a great night out.

On television they have starred in their own series practically every year since 1979; they have also ‘guested’ on all the major shows including Wogan, Parkinson, Sunday Night at the Palladium, several Royal Variety Shows and been featured in a BBC Documentary Funny Business based on double acts, which also included footage on Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy, and Morecambe and Wise.

Recently they have appeared on many major TV shows including The Des O’Connor Show, Noel’s House Party and Talking Telephone Numbers.

To add to their pedigree, they remain the only act to have won three separate National Club Awards and have been named as the Variety Club Personalties of the Year. Their feature film The Boys in Blue in addition to its cinema success, has gone on to become a video best-seller. The boys have also been the subject of This Is Your Life!

During 1993 they were offered the chance to play a season in the USA. Orlando, Florida was the location. Their three month season was such a success that they were immediately re-booked for April, May, June 1994, starring at King Henry’s Feast, Orlando and making several US television appearances.

As the undisputed Kings of Live Entertainment, Cannon and Ball have set standards that will never be equalled.

During the 1970’s they built a strong reputation around the UK cabaret club circuit for being a great live act. They also toured extensively in the hotel circuits of Australia and South Africa.

In 1980 they ‘topped the bill’ for the very first time at the North Pier, Blackpool, where they played to capacity business for 22 weeks; a feat they surpassed in 1991 when they returned to the Pier and celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a 25 week sell out season.

Live theatre has always been what Tommy and Bobby do best; even with their TV and film experience, a live audience still gives them a ‘buzz’. Tommy and Bobby have broken records in theatres all over the UK, including London. In 1981 they played a six week season at the Dominion Theatre when every seat was sold before the show opened, and in 1988 their pantomime Babes in the Wood broke all previous pantomime records at the world famous London Palladium, where Cannon and Ball created the record for the largest box office amount taken in one week in British theatre history.

With panto, summer season and shows across the world, Tommy and Bobby are still packing them in.

Anthony Engelman


Anthony is perhaps best known as the loveable rogue Stonefish in the popular Australian soap Neighbours, having been in the series from 1989 and a regular character since 1994.

In Australia he has also appeared in TV commercials for Jethoppers and Dandy Hams and TV series such as Sefton in Lafe for School for the Channel Ten network, Australia’s Most Wanted, Grundy TV, Wazza in Pugwall and Pugwall’s Summer, Boy Soldiers, The Flying Doctors, Young Talent Time and The Early Bird Show.

This will be Anthony’s second pantomime in England as he played Dick Whittington at the Charter Theatre in Preston and he is looking forward to appearing as Aladdin alongside Cannon and Ball at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton.

Anthony is also an accomplished singer and musician playing guitar and away from theatre and television his hobbies include cricket, football, tennis, snooker and swimming.

John Altman


John started his professional career in stage management at the Grand Theatre and Opera House in Leeds, and later spent two years touring Europe in various productions such as Dream of a Ridiculous Man, Dracula, Masque of the Red Death and Woyzeck. Recent theatre credits include Rent, Roger Dashwell in Whodunnit, Alec Hurley in Up in the Gallery, Mark Driscoll in Dangerous Obsession, Tippy Grey in Little Tramp, Bill Sykes in Oliver!, George Thomas in Deadfall and Bold Slasher in Down by the Greenwood Side, as well as seasons at Leeds and Leicester. During the summer John has been starring with Kid Creole in the new hit musical Oh What a Night, at the Opera House in Blackpool.

Although the role of Nick Cotton in EastEnders made him a household name, John has many other TV appearances to his credit, including Black Hearts in Battersea, Lucky Jim, Life After Death, Going to Work, Jack and the Beanstalk, Minder, The Paradise Club, Five Fall Into Adventure, Take Two, Gentlemen and Players, TV Squash, Bouncing Back, Cold Lazarus, Seekers, The Ghosts of Oxford Street, Addams Family Tree and most recently No Sweat on BBC 1.

As well as presenting Up Yer News for Noel Gay/BSB, John has also guest starred in Cyberstar and The Ant and Dec Show, and played Jigger in Carousel for BBC Radio 4.

In addition to his stage and TV credits, John has appeared in several films including playing George Harrison in The Birth of the Beatles, To Die For, Higher Mortals, The First Great Train Robbery, Quadrophenia, An American Werewolf in London, Remembrance and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

John plays guitar and drums, is a keen swimmer, writer and photographer and is thoroughly looking forward to his first pantomime season in Wolverhampton.



American born Sinitta studied ballet at Legat Russian Ballet School and Drama with Lamada. West End credits include Cats, Little Shop of Horrors, Hair and Mutiny on the Bounty.

Sinitta is responsible for 14 Top Twenty singles and three gold albums. She has presented various chat shows on MTV and two 14 week series of The Wall Game lor Thames Television.

She has performed in concerts all over the world including Wembley Arena and the Tokyo Dome.

Sinitta has won the gold award at the Tokyo Music Festival with her debut release, topping the domestic and international chart, and also Best Female Artist at the BPI Awards 1988.

She enjoyed a Billboard number one with the dance single ‘Feels Like the First Time’.

Movie list includes Shock Treatment, Foreign Bodies and The Friends, all shot at Lee International.

Brian Cant


Brian’s career began in repertory with seasons in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Bromley, Buxton and Peterborough plus two seasons in repertoire at Pitlochry.

His television work started in adult drama and encompassed classic serials and popular series such as Dr Who, Z Cars, Dixon of Dock Green and many others.

His introduction to children’s TV was in Play School from which emerged Camberwick Green, Trumpton, Chigley, Bric-a-Brac and the hugely popular Playaway.

Apart from his own ‘Family’ theatre shows, Brian has toured the UK in many productions including Run for Your Wife, Doctor in the House, Born in the Gardens and the musicals Tom Foolery, Dames at Sea, Oh Coward! and Side by Side by Sondheim.

Brian has played Dr Wickstead in Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus at Theatr Clwyd in Wales, Captain Hardcastle in Watch It Sailor, and Reverend Purefoy in Sailor Beware prior to a national tour.

Recent theatre work includes Sgt Rough in the classic Victorian melodrama Gaslight at Hornchurch, The History of Tom Jones (13 roles!) at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Frank Gibbons in Noel Coward’s This Happy Breed, at the Redgrave Farnham and Churchill Bromley and as Admiral Juddy in Rookery Nook at the Salisbury Playhouse. He has recently completed a tour playing the Vicar in Canterbury Tales.

Films include The Sandwich Man, Nothing but the Best and he recently appeared in the feature A Feast at Midnight.

This Christmas will see Brian appearing at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton in Aladdin, his eighteenth successive pantomime, many of which he has co-written and directed.

He recently wrote and voiced two television series, one called Mousetown and the other Animal Families, a series of 26 short films for Channel 4 and America. Brian has just received an ‘Audio File’ Award from Chivers Press for their talking books.

Brian has directed several shows for Legoland Theatres complex which opened in the spring and recently toured with The Canterbury Tales.

Anne Duval

Born in Ewloe, North Wales, Anne Duval has worked regularly in theatre and cabaret and supporting star names, including Jimmy Cricket, Frankie Vaughan, Tom O’Connor, Charlie Williams, Ronnie Hilton, John Hanson, Norman Collier, Stan Boardman and Edmund Hockridge.

In addition to appearing in Music Hall many times at the famous City Varieties in Leeds, Anne has also toured in Music Hall in the USA and Sweden and has appeared in cabaret in Spain, Malta, Sicily and The Canary Isles.

Sixteen summer season shows as Leading Lady have found Anne returning to most venues for a second or third time, including: Great Yarmouth, Douglas (Isle of Man), Whitby, Skegness and Llandudno.

Versatility is certainly a good word to describe Anne’s career, which has also included leading roles in both plays and musical productions, including The Hollywood Musical, The World of Rodgers and Hammerstein and The Ivor Novello Story.

Anne has appeared in twenty-two pantomimes (including fifteen as Principal Boy) with star names, including Bill Maynard, Ken Goodwin, Geoffrey Hughes, Jack Smethurst, The Bachelors, Stu Francis, Jimmy Cricket, Keith Harris and Paul Shane. In recent years Anne has played character roles including the Wicked Witch in Mother Goose and Queen Natasha in Snow White. Last year Anne enjoyed a very happy season at Mansfield playing the Empress in Aladdin with Paul Shane and Sinitta and is delighted to be working again with Sinitta in Aladdin at Wolverhampton.

Mel Muir


Sheffield born Mel began his career as a chef, but soon put his culinary skills on the back burner to make use of his sparkling personality as a redcoat. During this time he proved himself to be a talented individual, able to turn his hand to compering, sports, singing, dancing, children’s entertainment, acting and DJ’ing.

He then went on to summer seasons around Europe, where he was better known as Dr Lurve, the smooth talking, afro-patting 70s DJ at Carwash (Majorca).

Mel performed in pantomime for the first time last year playing Genie in Aladdin at The Hawth in Crawley.

He is excited about returning to the role and is thrilled to be here at The Grand for his second season.

Sharon Kiel

Sharon started her training as a dancer in her home town, Hull. Then she went on to The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.

She has worked extensively in television, including; Noel’s House Party, Generation Game, Wogan, Aspel Live, Hale and Pace, 3.2.1, Benny Hill Show, Ruby Wax Series, Barrymore, Children in Need, VEDay Gala Live for Peace and also participated in Song for Europe as a backing singer.

She has done several videos, fashion and hair shows, cabarets and commercials. Sharon has appeared in productions of West Side Story and The King and I as well as several pantomimes all over the country. Her most recent performance has been in Spirit of the Dance at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

She is now looking forward to her pantomime season and to be working once again with Cannon & Ball.

Roary the Tiger

Rory’s early life in India wasn’t easy. Ignored by his friends because he preferred playing games and telling jokes to eating people. Rory soon left to find fame and fortune at Haven Holidays. He earned his stripes with his own Tiger Club for children and can now been seen entertaining at Haven Holiday parks throughout Britain with his co-stars Anxious the Elephant and Greedy the Gorilla. He has recorded four albums, and has several TV appearances to his credit.

He is now making his second appearance in Pantomime this year.

Mark Martin


Mark Martin trained at the Urdang Academy in London and graduated in July 1996.

Professional theatre experience to date includes the following; Aladdin at the Sandown Pavilion, Isle of Wight (1995/6) and also at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle Upon Tyne with Cannon and Ball (1996/7).

Aspects of Dance at Wimbledon and Hackney. Faust at the Old Vic Theatre, Hyber Nation the Orchard Theatre and Anne Frank Tribute at the Trinity Arts.

TV Credits include The Big Breakfast on various PA’s with the pop group Euoke and the sitcom What You Looking At? (Channel 4 Television). Mark’s most recent job was working on board the MV Zenith Celebrity Cruises which was choreographed by Alan Harding.

Joanne Gaskin

Joanne was born in Ashton under Lyne and trained at the Noreen Dickinson School of Dance in Stalybridge. Summer seasons include Great Yarmouth in The Jim Davidson Show; in Blackpool she appeared in The Jimmy Cricket Show at the South Pier and The Joe Longthorne and Little and Large Show at the Opera House. In cabaret Joanne was one of the dancers appearing with the sensational Shirley Bassey and in the summer of ’94 and ’95 she danced in cabaret at the Talk of the Coast, Blackpool. Summer ’96 saw her once again in Blackpool with illusionist Russ Stevens at his Theatre of Illusion.

No stranger to pantomime, Joanne has appeared alongside such names as John Inman in Mother Goose, at the Davenport Theatre, Stockport, Ken Dodd in Dick Whittington at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, Little and Large and Leslie Grantham in Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham and The Krankies and Gareth Hunt in Aladdin at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Stefan Dennis, Emma Wray and Maureen Nolan in Babes in the Wood at the Liverpool Empire, Jeremy Beadle in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bernie Clifton and Kathy Staff in Aladdin both in her home town of Ashton under Lyne.

She has also toured the Mediterranean for a cruise line and has performed in the presence of their Royal Highnesses Prince Edward and Princess Margaret. Television includes appearing as a Tiller Girl on the Russell Grant All Star Show, Brookside and the recent BAFTA Awards.
Joanne has spent summer 1997 at the Grand Theatre Blackpool in Spirit of the Dance.

Craig Ian Thomson

Craig comes to us from Merseyside where his interest in theatre began at the age of seven. As he grew up he began taking it more seriously and at the age of 17 enrolled in one of Merseyside’s most renowned performance schools. Whilst studying there he performed in a variety of shows including The Importance of Being Earnest, playing the part of Algernon Moncrieff, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, playing the part of one of the brothers, Ephraim, and West Side Story. Three years later he graduated with a number of qualifications. He is a qualified Drama Teacher with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Since leaving college, Craig has worked as a dancer in Madeira, Portugal, where he appeared on national television. Craig has just completed a contract working on a five star cruise ship visiting places such as Hollywood and New York. This is Craig’s first visit to the Grand Theatre Wolverhampton and he is looking forward to performing here.

Wendy Grimshaw


Wendy started her professional training at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom where she completed a three year dance and teacher training course. Since leaving she has worked extensively on various luxury cruise liners, including the QE2, going as far afield as Australia, Asia and the Caribbean. More recently she worked at a top resort in Malaysia and Thailand.

Since returning to England, Wendy has enjoyed a summer season at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool performing in Spirit of the Dance directed and choreographed by Alan Harding.

She is looking forward to her first pantomime debut and is pleased to be working for Alan Harding again.

Alan Harding

Alan began his career as a dancer, working on every major variety show, but in 1981, he went to Central Television to stage and choreograph Emu’s World. He later became Associate Producer on the program which lasted for seven series.

During this time he travelled extensively to Belgium for The Tina Turner Show; Holland for The Las Vegas Review and Hot Ice and numerous fashion shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

The eighties saw Alan directing many pantomimes and staging and choreographing many of the yearly Royal Variety Shows produced by The BBC and London Weekend Television. He also staged and choreographed the under mentioned shows during this time:-

The Royal Gala, Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday, The Royal Gala Princes Trust at the Mayflower Theatre, The Night of 100 Stars (London Weekend Television), Gemma, The Girls and Gershwin (Scottish Television), The Tom Jones Special (BBC), Sunday Night at the London Palladium with Jimmy Tarbuck (London Weekend Television), Seaside Special (Southern Television), The Laughter Show with Les Dennis and Dustin Gee (BBC) and 3-2-1 (Yorkshire Television).

In 1993 Michael Barrymore was the star of the Royal Variety Show for London Weekend Television and for this, Alan staged the ‘showstopping’ Squaddies Routine. In 1994 Carlton Television produced the V.E. Day Show and again Alan staged and choreographed Michael’s act.

This relationship continued until 1996 during which time Alan not only staged and choreographed all Michael’s television shows for London Weekend Television, but in 1993 became Associate Producer and in ’94 and ’95 was asked to produce the shows. He was also responsible for producing Michael’s commercial, videos and stage shows.

In December 1996 Alan went to The Theatre Royal, Newcastle to direct the pantomime of Aladdin and in April 1997 directed and choreographed the tour of Spirit of the Dance.

In July 1997 Alan directed and choreographed a major season of Spirit of the Dance at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

Alan has just choreographed the new musical Boogie Nights which has recently premiered at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley.

Melanie Iredale

Melanie was trained at Rambert School of Ballet for three years and later worked as a soloist with Vienna Festival Ballet and Alex Roy London Ballet Theatre.

Melanie then moved on to work in the commercial field of dancing.

Her work has included trade shows, music videos, TV work including Barrymore, Dame Edna and various other work.

Melanie is looking forward to doing pantomime in Wolverhampton.

Rick Coates

During a varied career Rick has been privileged to work with a whole host of household names including Freddie Starr, Cannon and Ball, Boy George, Jimmy Somerville, Harry Hill, Sir Ian McKellen, Spencer Davis, Norman Wisdom, Jim Davidson, The Nolans, Tommy Steele, singer songwriter Gerard Kenny, Frank Carson and the late Marti Caine.

His work has also included writing incidental music for radio and television and spells in the musical theatres on Les Miserables and Cars.

Since 1993, Rick has had the opportunity to assist Cannon and Ball in exporting their unique brand of comedy to the United States including engagements in Florida, Missouri and on tour.

Rick has been Musical Director on many pantomimes and summer seasons, the recent Granada TV series Live From the Lillydrome and has twice conducted the orchestra for the annual Lord Delfont Gala Tribute Concert at the Blackpool Opera House. Recently he has been at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool for Rock With Laughter 1996.

Rick is a keen paraglider and mountaineer and likes to spend his spare time watching his local football team Blackpool ‘Wren’ Rovers.

Walsall Academy of Dance


Children are trained to a professional level in all performing arts subjects and study the syllabuses of the Royal Academy, Imperial Society of Dance and the International Dance Teachers Association. Walsall Academy pupils are the current British champions in both ballet and modern theatre dance. Children have had the honour of representing the West Midlands area for the past three years in the IDTA showcase held at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. Children have been in many productions this year Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Summer Holiday with Darren Day and The Snowman currently running at the Birmingham Rep in which Drew McOnie plays the boy. The Academy has had a very successful year and are looking forward to appearing in Aladdin with Cannon and Ball. May we wish all the cast a very happy show.

Children: Victoria Nash; Kelly Neal; Georgina Nike; Amy Fussell; Katie Ford; Danielle Luckman; Harriet Garbett; Nicola Reeves; Amie Brown

The Classic Academy of Dancing

Classic Academy of Dancing is five years old and caters for students from two years of age upwards.

We welcome everyone, whether they have joined us to take up dance as a hobby or to pursue a career on the stage or in the teaching of dance.

Four years ago we moved into our premises in Willenhall Centre with two large mirrored studios. A year later we took on extra accommodation to house a coffee bar, kitchen waiting area and

more toilet facilities. We are now looking to expand to a third studio.

Many of our senior students go on to full time dance college or turn professional, most recent being Joanne Hudson who is a member of the new all group band Suga.

We teach the IDTA and RAD syllabus and have one of our junior members on the Royal ballet Junior Associate Course.

Exams are taken regularly and our show is every two years, though we do have special display teams that perform regularly. Our annual awards evening is held every December where special awards are presented. Our school is a happy, friendly school where we put the emphasis on fun!

Subjects taught include IDTA, ballet, RAD Ballet, Tap, Stage, Modern, Disco, Drama, Singing, Fitkio, Adult Dance and Fitness Programme. Branches are at Sneyd Community and Bilston College.

Children: Lisa Carroll, Kate Ingram, Elizabeth Watts, Erica Downing, Hayley Paddock, Nikita Mander, Rachel Brindley, Lyndsay Mason, Abbie Williams