It was actually quite nice to go in not really knowing what to expect, I joked to my partner as we sat down and said ‘are they going it say, it’s behind you?’ she responded with a chuckle ‘yeah, it’s a panto’, and I tell you what, it wasn’t short of ‘oh know it isn’t’ and ‘it’s behind you’.
As a Disney nut, I love the story of Aladdin and from what I’ve heard, it’s a classic pantomime. I presume for copyright purposes the story was changed slightly, which was great actually, as you we’re sure of what was going to happen next. Set in the back streets of China, Aladdin tries his hardest to meet and woo Princess Jasmine, who is being married off to rich suitors by her father The Emperor. With a number of twists and turns throughout the story, Aladdin is triumphant in bagging himself the princess and proving that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how much money you have, true love is the greatest power.
The lead characters consisted of; Richard Blackwood as the Evil Abanazar, the extremely talented Amelia Lily as The Spirit of the Ring, the hilarious David Ball as Widow Twankey (Aladdin’s Mother), Kelly Agredo as Princess Jasmine, Noel Brodie as Wishee Washee (Aladdin’s Brother) and of course, Anthony Rickman as Aladdin.
The show was a mix of cheesy one liners, ad lib, slap stick humour and an abundance of silly ‘Dad’ jokes, that the kids in the audience found hilarious. I appreciated the odd local and adult joke, which they just about got away with, I hope too many kids didn’t leave asking their parents what’s so funny about a brown sheet.
Compared to the musical theater productions that I’m used to seeing at the Pavilion, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and detail in the set design and props. The set really helped tell the story and set the scene, whether that’s in the town streets or at the Emperor’s Palace. My favourite scenes were at Twankey’s Launderette, when Aladdin hid in the washing machine which was then accidentally switched on, after tumbling round and round, he stumbled out as child Aladdin. However the highlight for me was the laundry washing scene, an enormous set was unveiled, which saw Wishee Washee accidentally going into the new washing machine.
I was really excited to see Amelia Lily on stage, after watching her way back when on the X-Factor, I knew she could sing but I was completely blown away with how incredible her voice is, she should be on the West End! She was also fantastic at engaging with the audience, as were the rest of the cast.
All of the characters on stage were brilliant, their voices were great, they moved around the stage effortlessly together and the odd wrong line was turned into comedy gold. I was completely mesmerized by one of the dancers Reece Kerridge, every time he jumped onto the stage he was beaming, with a huge smile on his face, and what an incredible dancer!
However Noel Brodie and David Ball are quite simply comedy geniuses, at moments it was like something out of the chuckle brothers, they totally stole the show. They are both fantastic entertainers in their own right, but together it was just utter brilliance. I didn’t expect to laugh so much at a ‘kid friendly’ show and I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle and sometimes not so subtle political, drag and gay jokes.
I don’t know how I can summarize this anymore without giving too much away, so all I have left to say is, if you want a festive, fun, family treat this Christmas, then book yourselves in for this wonderful show, you won’t be disappointed. Tickets are available now, with performances running until Sunday 5th January.
I was provided with press tickets for the show, however all words are my own. Images have kindly been provided by BH Live.