Little Gabriella can tame that panto monster

Keighley News: Little Ernie – the 19ft 8in tall gorilla that dominates the stage at Bradford Alhambra’s performance of Aladdin, is tamed by the smallest Sunbeam, seven-year-old Gabriella Baglio Little Ernie – the 19ft 8in tall gorilla that dominates the stage at Bradford Alhambra’s performance of Aladdin, is tamed by the smallest Sunbeam, seven-year-old Gabriella Baglio

Being only 3ft 10in tall makes Gabriella Baglio the smallest cast member in the Alhambra panto Aladdin.

And at 19ft 8in high, Little Ernie, the monster gorilla, is the tallest!

Seven-year-old Gabriella is one of the Sunbeams – the panto’s children’s chorus chosen from pupils of the Oxenhope-based Sara Pack-ham Theatre Academy.

She is small enough to fit into the hand of Ernie, who has been thrilling audiences on the Alhambra stage in Bradford.

Little Ernie took seven months to make by a team of 20 people. He’s so big he has to travel in two sections, and his head takes five people to lift into position!

The gigantic animatronic puppet has 20 motors inside his head, linked to radio-controlled transmitters making him blink, frown and snort.

It takes seven puppeteers to operate him.

Audiences are invited to throw foam bananas at the gorilla on stage and more than 11,200 bananas have been delivered for the scene.

Sara Packham has provided youngsters for Alhambra pantomimes for 11 years and two teams of ten Sunbeams appear in alternate performances.

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