Fringe Box



Review: Aladdin – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 12 Dec, 2012
Updated on: 12 Dec, 2012
Susie Blake as Genie in Aladdin

Susie Blake as Genie in Aladdin.

By The Stage Dragon

Do you say ‘Bah Humbug!’ to pantomimes? Well, no matter what your age, I challenge you not to smile and laugh at Aladdin, this year’s Christmas pantomime at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. It really is magic!

With spectacular sets and costumes and cheesy one-liners galore, Gerry Tebbutt has once again directed and choreographed an up-to-date, enjoyable and entertaining Christmas treat for everyone!

The scenery, movable set, props and costumes are simply amazing. It’s easy to lose count of how many variations of backdrops and folds that are presented throughout the show, all as impressive as the last – if not more so, and there’s even a flying carpet.

Particularly outstanding is the scenery/set for the cave scene, with the use of dim lighting, sound effects, dry ice and lots of glitter (an absolute must in panto) the audience are immediately transported to a dark and dingy cave with Aladdin – brilliantly played by Emma Thornett.

Thornett carries the show with boundless energy, excellent stage presence and a lovely singing voice. Lucy Hope-Borne is stunning both vocally and visually as Princess Jasmine. Kit Hesketh-Harvey as Abanazar and Susie Blake as The Genie work well together, providing an instantly engaging opening duo act. Blake’s Genie is adorable and she gives excellent character to each variation of Genie – distinguishing the difference in personality remarkably.

In the opening scene of act two we are treated to a rather different but lively rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas from Jamie Brook as PC Pongo, Joe Allen as Wishee Washee and Peter Gordon as Emperor of China. It is an excellent opening which certainly gets the audience fired up for more fun in the second act. Allen and Brook have superb timing and interact with the audience fantastically – Allen especially.

It is clear that Peter Gordon and Royce Mills, who plays Widow Twankey, are incredibly comfortable upon the Arnaud boards and both perform naturally and with ease – lapping up the audience’s response; they are equally great fun to watch.

It is visibly still early days for the ensemble, though the juvenile performers are excellent. While big company numbers are slick and performed well – they could do with relaxing and enjoying themselves more. With another week of enthusiastic houses I’m sure the ensemble will be matching the energy and confidence of the already sparkling principal cast.

The most outstanding company number is by far the finale number, a hysterical take on the recently popular Psy – Gangnam Style, led by Joe Allen; which quite frankly, you have to see to believe. Aladdin runs until  January 13th, with a relaxed performance on Friday, December 14, and selected 10.30am showings up until the new year.

Click here for Yvonne Arnaud Theatre website.

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