Theatre Royal To 16 January 2011.
Performance times variously 1.30pm, 2.00pm, 5.30pm, 7.15pm (check with box office). no performance 5, 10 Jan.
Audio-described 7 Jan 7.15pm.
BSL Signed 14 Jan 7.15pm.
Captioned 8 Jan 2.30pm.
Rus 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0115 989 5555.
Review: Alan Geary: 4 December 2010.
It’s a big claim – this year’s pantomime was their best for several years.
It was a packed press night for Aladdin at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. This was fortuitous because – it’s a big claim – this year’s pantomime was their best for several years.
Once some shameless insurance advertising was out of the way it got down to business. It combined a sharp script with gags galore, leggy glamour, good-bad conjuring, a never-ending array of breathtaking costumes, cracking set-piece routines, some amazing 3-D sequences whenever the Genie appeared, and more.
This was a night out for fully signed-up aesthetes and intellectuals, connoisseurs of corn, middle-aged men, the ladies, anyone with an eye for sheer professionalism, and of course the children. Unlike some recent pantos at this venue, this was smut-free. There was plenty of bawdy innuendo, particularly from Andrew Ryan’s wonderful Widow Twankey, but it was aimed safely over the heads of the tinies.
Likewise Stephen Mulhern’s Aladdin. Mulhern wasn’t your slick and camp one-liner merchant: he was the boy-next-door entertainer; the type you‘d like your daughter to marry. And he did some splendidly dodgy magic, so shaky a lot of five-year-olds could see through it.
Bad boy Abanazar was played by Gray O’Brien. Not only did he want to become master of the universe; in his long black leather coat he looked like a cross between Himmler and Alvin Stardust. The lovely Emma Cannon brought in a note of class as Scherezade.
There are rumours that sweet-throwing at all pantos has been banned by the Health and Safety zealots – in any case there wasn’t any here. But there was a free shower with giant water pistols. Another winner was an unselfish – it was an unselfish show – Twelve Days of Christmas routine with Aladdin, Twanky, Chief of Police (Paul Gabriel) and The Emperor (James Paterson), which demanded and got an encore.
The only negative of the evening was the enthusiastically over-loud music. It drowned out some witty lyrics. Adjustments can presumably be made.
Gag of the evening? Twanky complains how social behaviour has deteriorated. “I went to the pictures yesterday and had to move seven times”. “Did you get molested?” asks Aladdin. “Eventually,” says Twanky.
This is an obvious go-see Christmas show in Nottingham.
Abanazar: Gray O’Brien.
Scherezade: Emma Cannon.
Widow Twanky: Andrew Ryan.
The Emperor: James Paterson.
Chief of Police: Paul Gabriel.
Aladdin: Stephen Mulhern (Ian H Watkins 4th, 6th, 12th, 13th and 14th Jan).
Princess Jasmine: Katie Hall.
Genie of the Lamp: Himself.
Ensemble: Natalya May Burke, Jessica Ellen, Steven Hardcastle, Megan Louch, Paul Morgan, Ben Newsome, Ryan Quish and Rosie Thompson.
Juveniles: The Theatre Royal Babes.
Director: Ed Curtis.
Set Design: Hugh Durrant.
Lighting Design: Ben Cracknell.
Musical Director: Allan Rogers.
Sound Designer: Glen Beckley.
Choreographer: Matt Cole.