This year’s pantomime offering at the Palace Theatre, Newark, is an extravagant feast of merriment for young and old alike.
Aladdin, written by Iain Lauchlan, directed by Alex Howarth has great choreography by Graeme Pickering and upbeat music by Malcolm Newton, with colourful sets and costumes, brilliant lighting and sound effects, excellent singing, classic one-liners, slapstick and plenty of audience participation.
It transports the audience back to the bustling market town of Peking to tell the story of Aladdin, his brother, Wishee Washee, and their mother Widow Twankey who run a launderette.
Aladdin is in love with Princess Jasmine but could never marry her because he is not rich enough and not a Prince.
When his long lost Uncle Abanazar turns up on their doorstep and asks Aladdin to help him enter a cave to find an old dusty lamp the fun really does begin.
This year’s star of the show is Hayley Tamaddon, from Emmerdale and Dancing On Ice, as Princess Jasmine. She looks the part, dressed in her red gown and tiara and plays the love interest with relish. She is equally matched by Jenny Perry, as Aladdin, wearing a short red tunic, black shorts and thigh length black boots. They work well together and have lovely singing voices.
Another pairing who work well together are Kevin McGreevy as the larger-than-life Wishee Washee and Tim Freeman as Widow Twankey.
It is fantastic to see them back on stage in Newark, especially in the Who, What and I Don’t know comedy routine and the messy laundry washing scene.
Widow Twankey wears lots of colourful costumes including dressing up as a washing machine while Wishee certainly knows how to work the audience, getting them to sing Rub-a-dub-a-dub Dub Dub every time he comes on stage and sings: “I’m Wishee, I’m Washee.”
Andrew Piper, as the evil bearded Abanazar, gets theatregoers to boo and hiss when speaking his lines.
Lucy Keirl, from Long Bennington, makes a lovely feisty handmaiden to the Princess as So Shi. Sporting a turquoise tunic she is never shy when speaking out about her role in life and falling in love with Wishee Washee.
Emily McGlynn sparkles as the Spirit Of The Ring and Connor McAllister provides the humour as the bumbling Emperor (looking a lot like Austin Powers) and as the Scottish Genie Of the Lamp. The junior ensemble, local dancers picked from the area, excel in their numbers, alongside dancers Perri-Kae Burton and Ryan Patrick Douglas.
Songs included Walking On Sunshine, Soapy Bubble Rap, Washing All Over The World, A Million Dreams, Treasure and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
Highlights of the pantomime included the comical number If I Were Not An Emperor Something Else I’d Like To Be, the fantastic magic carpet ride, the mummified ghost scene singing Despacito and the song sheet with children getting up on the stage to help Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee out.
This is a wonderful family-orientated pantomime and well worth a watch. You can catch it until New Year’s Eve.
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