I lucked into some tickets for Panto this week but had no idea what was in store. Although I wasn’t quite in the Christmas spirit yet, I thought I’d give it a go, taking along my two sons with their critical eye. I’m always up for some light relief, and so, filling in for my friend with Press tickets, off we went to review Aladdin! Here it is, and soon you will also be able to read it on Oxfordshire’s Round and About Magazine site.
The Waterside Theatre has a reputation to uphold to produce a spectacular, star studded show and this festive season the Aylesbury audience is being treated to Aladdin…
…and it is nothing short of brilliant.
The checklist of criteria that should make this work is complete: Soap star, reality TV star, local celeb, drag act…tick. But due to fantastic direction, this production is even more than the sum of its parts.
The love interests Aladdin (Danny Colligan) and Princess Jasmine (Jasmine Walia of Towie fame) are both sung beautifully and performed with sophistication; a particular challenge given the nature of Panto. They are playing alongside the rambunctious characters of Wishee Washee (Andy Collins, BBC Three Counties Radio), and Widow Twanky (La Voix, Britain’s Got Talent 2014), who between them run the ultimate master-class in ‘how to captivate an audience’. The spectators are skilfully drawn further and further into this effervescent show until they are more like participants, all due to these stars’ never-ending high jinks and fantastically crafted methods of Panto artistry.
The rest of the cast provided the other shades of character that complete the Panto spectrum; darkness (booooo!!!), gravitas, dynamic dancers and the comfort of familiar themes, and although the top-billing – Eastenders’ Michelle Collins- was outshone by her exceptional co-stars, she still added a bucket load of sparkle to the stage.
As you would expect, some of the childish humour is pretty near to the mark of what your kids should find funny, and some of it is so far over the mark (and, luckily, your children’s heads) it’ll have you wincing in your seat. But it is guaranteed to have the whole family howling, whooping, standing, and singing along. My 5 and 8 year old boys and I wanted to be on that stage with the cast by the end, but it kind of felt as if we already were.
If you’re looking for a Panto this Christmas, see this one, it’s just so much fun.
On now until 31st December 2016.