ALADDIN: A WISH COME TRUE
O2 Theatre Peninsula Square SE10 0DX To 5 Jan 2013.
Runs 2 hr 40min One interval .
TICKETS: 0844 856 0202 .
Review: Francis Grin 12 December.
Spectacle and non-stop entertainment, starring Lily Savage.
Flying carpets, jewelled costumes, blown-up genies and snappy pop-songs – yes, these could only describe a night out at the Panto. Aladdin: A Wish Come True may have come with its ups and downs, but certainly provides for an evening of pure entertainment. Directed by David Morgan, it playfully reimagines the tale of Aladdin as a ‘street rat’ going from rags to riches with the intention of seducing the princess.
Paul O’Grady’s alter ego Lily Savage plays Aladdin’s mother, ‘Widow Twankey’, a women ‘fallen from grace’, slightly bitter but retaining a biting sense of flair and humour. Savage’s presence is immediately marked through the show’s opening, a funeral where cast members solemnly walk across.the stage in low-key black dress. Savage emerges in outrageous mourning costume, covered in endless layers of black dress and a lavish veil. From the moment she appears, we know that Widow Twankey is all about silent exuberance, making her a comedic joy.
Regardless, Savage is careful not to steal the show and attention drawn to fine performances including Jon Lee’s Aladdin, who captures an innocent youth and jest in his character, establishing a strong relationship with the audience as he embodies the ‘good guy’ which kids can especially play along to. Abanazar, sharply played by Darren Bennett, is truly Aladdin’s polar opposite, the ultimate villain with black sparkling cape, menacing laugh and sly, snake-like movements. Audiences can’t help but thrive on ‘boo-ing’ Abanazar every time he hits the stage.
It wouldn’t be a Panto without dazzling effects. Most astounding is Aladdin’s actual flying carpet, which almost leaves the stage at one point. Unfortunately, some other effects fall short of the wow-factor, including the blown-up Genie, which clumsily enters, singing with complete lack of synchronization, and Jasmine’s baby elephant, generally left in an awkwardly inanimate state. Still, Alan Miller Bunford’s stunning set takes us everywhere from a busy market place in China to a night sky lit with stars.
If you’re looking to buzz up the festive season with some Pantomime, this is certainly one to catch.
Solicitor: Nigel Garton.
Widow Twankey: Paul O’Grady.
Abanazar: Darren Bennett.
Slave of the Ring: Issy Van Randwyck.
Aladdin: Jon Lee.
PC Ping: Matthew Rixon.
PC Pong: Andy Spielgel.
Emperor: Nigel Garton.
Princess Jasmine: Marissa Dunlop.
Genie: Delroy Atkinson.
Director/Choreographer: David Morgan.
Designer: Alan Miller Bunford.
Lighting: Alistair Grant.
Sound: Clement Rawling.
Musical Director: Andrew Corcoran.