Review: Playhouse Aladdin is ‘a fantastic show for all ages’

The cast at the launch, including John Altman, who is playing Abanazar.

The cast at the launch, including John Altman, who is playing Abanazar. - Credit: Archant

I never expected to go to the theatre and laugh quite so much.

I took my three-year-old daughter to see Aladdin at The Playhouse, not knowing what to expect as she had never been to a pantomime before.

From start to finish the cast engaged in banter with the audience – from the hilarious jokes and one-liners from Wishee Washee (Mike Goble), to the boos and hisses aimed at the nasty Abanazar (John Altman) who did a fabulous job goading the scores of schoolchildren in the front few rows, who loved heckling with him.

The story was set in Old Peking where a simple laundry boy (Aladdin) had fallen in love with a princess.

But, to get the girl of his dreams, he had to defeat the evil Abanazar who wanted to get his hands on the magic lamp so he could become the greatest ever sorcerer.

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Aladdin and Jasmine (Daniel Slade and Rebecca Hazel) wowed the audience with their performances and songs – which included a brilliant mix of traditional and current music.

The on-stage chemistry between Aladdin and Wishee Washee worked really well – making the audience believe they really were brothers.

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The Spirit and the Genie (Collette Stewart and Joseph Batchelor) were a breath of fresh air with their original portrayals of the parts, including some great dance moves by the genie.

Another great performance was given by The Emperor (Gareth Davies) who was so funny I had tears rolling down my face.

The whole theatre and lighting was utilised to create the fantastic setting for the show and involve the audience.

One of the highlights of the performance was the story’s famous magic carpet ride, which left audiences in awe of the technical wizadry and special effects.

No pantomime would be complete without the dame, and David Rumelle, who plays Widow Twankey, drew plenty of laughs with his comical antics.

The dancers were a great addition to the show – helping to portray the magic in the scenes – and they also treated spectators to a few surprises.

The Playhouse pulled off a spectacular production this year, which was full of laughs and festive cheer.

It was a fantastic show for people of all ages – and a huge hit with both me and my daughter. n

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