Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 2h 30m: one interval: till 10th Jan.
Performance times: Varies, 1.30pm, 2.00pm, 5.30pm, 7.15pm (check with box office). No performance 7th, 14th, 18th and 25th Dec and 1st and 4th Jan.
Audio Described: 2.30pm 12th Dec and 1.30pm 3rd Jan.
Sign Language Interpreted: 1.30pm 10th and 13th Dec and 7.15pm 8th Jan.
Captioned: 2.30pm 2nd Jan.
Review: Alan Geary: 10th December 2015.
An all-round delight.
This Aladdin was an all-round delight, an ideal opportunity for people of all ages to have a great time together. A few of the tiniest tinies were momentarily frightened, but no one was carried out crying, when early on a spectacular giant Cobra conjured up by Abanazar (James Barron) came out of nowhere and loomed over the stalls.
An equally thrilling special effect was when a magic carpet somehow carried Aladdin (the excellent Simon Webbe) up high then out over the audience.
It was an evening of truly classy, often leggy, song and dance. One routine led by Princess Jasmine (Emilie Du Leslay) was actually mildly erotic, but not inappropriately so. The usual quota of near the knuckle innuendo went safely over the heads of the children. Another particularly effective song and dance was done all in black by Abanazar and his evil henchmen.
There was a decent sound balance in this panto so that lyrics weren’t drowned by the music.
Costumes were truly spectacular, beautifully designed and colourful. Widow Twankey’s were, of course, progressively more and more outrageous. Christopher Biggins played her as amiable and good-humoured; it was he who led the audience in in Happy Birthday for the Theatre Royal’s 150th.
Ben Nickless, with his silly, squeaky voice was back as a very funny Wishee Washee, skating on at the start, and later driving on in a sort of bubble car. Scheherazade (Kimberly Blake) in white was super; so was Paul Gabriel as the Emperor, a part which too often gets crowded out.
The Slave of the Lamp was a gigantic but friendly puppet with an American accent.
The best ad-libbing came when Twankey’s false leg fell off. “What are you going to do?” asked Aladdin. “I can always go and play for Derby County” was the reply. Mansfield and Beeston also took a thrashing. And top prize for corn went to Aladdin when he told Jasmine, “It’s my step-ladder. My real ladder left home when I was two years old”
Except for people who don’t like harmless and undemanding fun, almost everyone will enjoy this pantomime.
Widow Twankey: Christopher Biggins.
Aladdin: Simon Webbe.
Wishee Washee: Ben Nickless.
Abanazar: James Barron.
Princess Jasmine: Emilie Du Leslay.
The Emperor: Paul Gabriel.
Scheherazade: Kimberly Blake.
Citizens of Pekin: Christopher Black, Alex Codd, Veronica Fulton, Emily Hayward, Jasmine Leung, Katriona Ramsay, Ashley Rumble and Nathan Saxon.
Children of Pekin: The Theatre Royal Babes.
Director: Ken Alexander.
Lighting Design: Matt Clutterham.
Musical Director: Allan Rogers.
Sound Designer: Justin Teasdale.
Choreographer: Paul Robinson.