THIS is modern panto at its best – exciting the children in the audience, entertaining the adults, and sending everyone home happy.
This accomplished version of the ever-popular Aladdin features strong performances in all the lead roles.
Ray Quinn – star of TV’s Dancing On Ice, X Factor, and previously Brookside – plays Aladdin with a cheeky, endearing charm.
As the villainous Abanazer, award-winning musical actor Tim Flavin has a powerful and scary presence.
Vastly experienced BBC TV and radio presenter Don Maclean is a superb Widow Twankey, holding the storyline together while delivering an operatic tribute to Indian food and demonstrating a hilarious boob-job gone wrong.
Add Neil Smye’s slapstick policeman, a delightful mix of senior and junior chorus dancers, a live band, and you’ve got a great show.
The sets, lighting, scenery and backdrops are slick and effective, particularly the dark, stalactite-dripping cave with echo on the voices, and the wonderful flying magic carpet sequence as Aladdin and the princess soar through the stars.
Perhaps some more local references would strengthen the ad-libs, maybe the political and showbiz comments could be improved to engage the adults, but the kids in the audience loved the participation.
The finale featured Old MacDonald Had A Farm with four captivating children from the audience supplying the animal sound effects and generally stealing the show.
And we even had a man from the audience proposing to his girlfriend on stage... she accepted!
Runs until January 6.