ALADDIN, Palace Theatre Mansfield till 3 January


Palace Theatre: Tkts 01623 633133
Runs: 2h 40m: one interval: till 3rd Jan.
Review: Alan Geary: 1st December 2009.

Everything you expect from a panto.
Right from the word go, when they were clapping along with the opening number, the audience were engaged with this panto. It’s a treat for everyone.

Your child-anarchist will enjoy the messy scene when Wishee and PC Pong are supposed to be decorating the palace; and it’s these two who officiate at a pie-throwing scene where the action spills over into the audience.

Anyone in need of a free shower will like the wet routine, involving buckets, water-pistols and hose pipes. Men in their fifties will appreciate the fact that there are plenty of leggy ladies all over the stage. And you get healthy helpings of excellent song and dance and good old-fashioned rock ’n roll, with Elvis impersonation from Rik Gaynor, back as Wishee Washee and as versatile as ever.

Also back is the splendid Charles Burden, as Widow Twankey with an astonishing selection of frocks, which Burden makes himself.

It’s a visual treat: the scenery glitters in all the right places – Aladdin’s cave is super – and the magic carpet sequence, which incorporates back projection, works beautifully.

Connoisseurs of corn might care to keep an ear open for these; they both come in the laundry scene. PC Pong falls into the mangle and comes out squashed flat: “Is that your new flat-mate?” asks Wishee Washee. And Wishee holds up an item of underwear: “They’re David Beckham’s knickers”. “Satin?” “No, they’re brand-new,” replies Wishee.

Especially early on, it’s a trifle over-noisy – at times the evil Abanazar (Louis Emerick) has a struggle to be heard over the (nicely) hostile front few rows. Lauren Tilly, as a glamorous, very Scottish, Slave of the Ring, is too loud on the voice front; but presumably that’s a matter of sound balance.

This is an unselfish show. Everyone on stage has his or her moment. There are good performances from, besides the already mentioned, Alexandra Gottschall (Aladdin), Michael ‘Abs’alom (PC Pong) and the watchable Babita Pohoomull (Princess). Local companies Directions Theatre Arts and Sarah Adamson School of Dance add a lot of enjoyment to the evening.

Go and see it.

Abanazar: Louis Emerick.
Slave of the Ring: Lauren Tilley.
Aladdin: Alexandra Gotschall.
Wishee Washee: Rik Gaynor.
Chinese Policeman: Michael ‘Abs’alom.
Princess: Babita Pohoomull.
Widow Twankey: Charles Burden.
Emperor: Michael Porter.
Genie of the Lamp: Ryan Douglas.

Villagers: Leanne Carr, Charlie Cooper, Ryan Douglas, Heather Parkin, Michael Porter, Catherine Pratt.

Village Children from Directions Theatre Arts and The Sarah Adamson School of Dance.

Director: Terry Morrison.
Lighting Designer: Dai Evans.
Choreographer: Andrew Margerison.
Musical Director: Martyn St James.
Written by: Andrew Ryan

2009-12-02 20:57:55

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