THE cast of a Bewdley pantomime which was cancelled due to funding issues has decided "the show must go on" and are producing the show themselves for charity.

After receiving the news in December that Bewdley Community Theatre's production of Aladdin could not go ahead as planned on January 4, the actors hatched a rescue plan to produce the show on a shoestring budget - with all the proceeds going to KEMP Hospice and Victim Support.

Genie of the ring Suzy James told The Shuttle: "It was all a bit last minute so it just felt like it was a great pity that we wouldn't be having a panto.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

"I spoke to the music director and producer to see if there was any chance we could continue without a budget and do it all for charity.

"Effectively we had to start all over again, but it felt like the right thing to do."

The local community rallied round and a venue was quickly secured at St Anne's Church, with sound and lighting offered by Kidderminster's AP Technical Services, and costumes and props donated by KEMP's charity shop in Bewdley.

Some cast members were unavailable for the new performance date on January 18, so committee members took to the street, recruiting local talent from town karaoke nights to fill the two leading roles of Aladdin and Jasmine.

Now, with just over a week to go until showtime, the cast are busy rehearsing and are appealing for donations from members of the public to make the production a success.

Suzy said: "We're rehearsing like mad and trying our best to pull it all together on a shoestring.

"We're having to improvise with props, sets and scenery and are rallying friends together to help paint sets.

"It's amazing what can be done when the desire is there."

The crew is still in need of a genie outfit, more Aladdin-themed sets, and - critically - a lamp.

The 10 cast members, a 25-strong choir and five-piece band will take to the stage next Saturday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £7 for adults and £5 for children and can be purchased from the KEMP shop and Wyre Forest Books in Load Street. To buy online, search Panto on a Shoestring on Facebook.

Call Suzy on 07852909023 with donations.