"Aladdin" is this year's pantomime at the Dancehouse produced by the theatre itself and Eight-Freestyle. "Aladdin" is a well-known fairy tale which tells the story of the fictional city of Shazar where Abanazer seeks the lamp hidden within the Cave of the Lamp, but is told that only a "diamond in the rough" may enter. Abanazer identifies a street urchin named Aladdin and gets him to bring him the lamp. Princess Jasmine, who refuses to marry a suitor, temporarily leaves the palace and meets Aladdin. Aladdin and Jasmine become friends and eventually fall in love.
What I loved when I looked at the cast in the program was that there wasn't any celebrity casting for this Panto.
Tony Wright played the title role of Aladdin. Wright had a beautiful tone of voice when singing and was interacting with the audience well. Jasmine was played by Helena Frances who also surprised the audience with her beautiful voice. Both Wright and Frances were great, and the audience could see their love for each other clearly.
Widow Twankey (The Dame in this production) was played by Matthew Chappell. Chappell spoke in a very funny tone of voice throughout the show and his moves as the dame were perfect. The only negative was that Chappell was running out of breath as his talking pace was really fast especially when singing which meant that the clarity was lost at times.
The Genie was played by Red Remond. Remond was hilarious and added sass to his portrayal of Genie which was fantastic.
Nik and Nak were played by Laurence Kelly and David Allen. Both actors were talking in Scouse accent which was quite funny, and I liked their difference in size as they joked about that onstage which once again was quite funny. The only thing that didn't work for me was that in a Panto you need 2 idiots and one is more serious than the other as this is where the comedy actually comes from and that wasn't shown by Kelly and Allen which affected the purpose of the characters as they were meant to be the funniest part of the Panto and I found other characters funnier although I don't know whether it was their fault or the directors fault.
Slave of the ring was played by Amy Gledhill. Gledhill was very interactive with the audience and played her character well. Adam Urey was great as Abanazer presenting the baddie clearly. Steven Jackson played the role of Emperor. Jackson kept forgetting his lines on stage which was very funny at times but still very unprofessional.
The young dancers (I saw the Magic of the Lamp team) were fabulous and it was amazing seeing how talented these young people are. As well as dancing, these young kids were there to react in some scenes and their facial expressions were great. Well done!
The adult dancers where a real shame. When dancing only two of them had their faces switched on and there was 5 of them. Well done to the two as I enjoyed watching you perform. Rest of the dancers just focused on their dancing skills and that's it, I didn't get any reaction or facial expression from them at all.
The direction by Sean Canning (who also wrote the script and co-choreographed the show) wasn't great. There was a very small amount of slapstick, there was literally no clocking by the characters on stage which is a significant part of panto (especially for the comedy duo and the dame). Most jokes are well known and have been over used already by other Pantomimes.
The set for this panto was disappointing. Most of the set was projected onto a white cloth at the total back of the stage which meant that the stage was empty. There were a few small set pieces on stage however it wasn't enough. What absolutely shocked me was that the stage manager was putting special effects equipment onstage and taking it off in between the scenes during a blackout. Even though there was a blackout, the audience could see him clearly and because there was only one person doing it, the audience was forced to sit in darkness for quite a long time as the person wasn't fast at all and the darkness frightened some young audience members. It could've been done by the actors more smoothly and quickly. On the other hand, I must mention the magical flying carpet as it was simply beautiful. The combination of the carpet and projection was stunning. I was blown away every time the carpet was used.
This Show Gets:
Overall, This Panto is good and that's it however with some work it could potentially be great.