A panto that gets in your face
Review: Aladdin, Orchard Theatre,
by Chris Price
It can be hard for a pantomime to feel original but the new 3D
effects in Aladdin are a master stroke. Panto’s traditions of
slapstick humour and audience interaction blended beautifully with
the chance to rub the lamp, which floated out towards the
bespectacled faces of parents and children.
Then screams usually reserved for rollercoasters filled the
auditorium as spiders, bats and snakes got squeam-inducingly close
to little’uns expecting cutesy, frilly fun.
Leading man Steve McFadden played up to his cockney-geezer image
with an outrageously East End persona but funnyman Matt Slack was
the star as Wishee Washee, daft as a brush throughout.
A small criticism might be that Steve appeared to feel a little
above his co-star’s goofing and gyrating. He never, for want of a
better term, let his hair down. Yet he came across as a real fiend
as Abanazar – who the kids loved to boo – especially when standing
with fresh-faced Luke Newton as Aladdin, who recently graduated
from the London School of Musical Theatre.
No one in the audience would have known that Nicola Meehan,
playing the Princess, is a proud Scot, such was her masked accent.
She definitely perked up a few sleepy dads.
A lot of the humour is aimed directly at adults, with the 3D
genie and Slack’s dodgy dancing designed to entertain the
The unexpected star was Masashi Fujimoto as the Emperor –
several deliberate instances of over-acting his Japanese roots,
even though the story is set in Peking, were hilarious. How would
Phil Mitchell put it? Nice one.Aladdin runs until Sunday,
January 6. Tickets £18 to £29.50. Box office 01322 220000.
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