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Aladdin at Chatham's Central Theatre review

by Alan Watkins

What makes for a good pantomime has often stumped producers and theatre companies.

If you have ever wondered, get tickets for this season's mix of slapstick, good overcoming evil and corny jokes in Chatham.

This has the lot.

There's the children's favourite, Phil Gallagher, a Medway lad who these days is known as TV's Mr Maker, playing Aladdin.

Mr Maker in Aladdin at the Central Theatre Chatham
Mr Maker in Aladdin at the Central Theatre Chatham

Former EastEnders' star Shaun Williamson is the evil Abanazar, and Paul Burling plays Wishee Washee (with a host of impressions that provides triple value for your ticket).

George Takei in Aladdin at the Central Theatre, Chatham
George Takei in Aladdin at the Central Theatre, Chatham

Now add to the mix Hollywood star, George Takei (Mr Sulu from Star Trek, left) and you have the foundations of a magnificent production.

Lob in the singing talent of Natalie Cleverley, playing not one but two genies, Quinn Patrick as Widow Twankey with lots of fun but little camp, and a gorgeous Princess Jasmine played by Claire Huckle and the mix becomes a gem to treasure.

It could have been typical of many modern pantos - lots of "I'm the star" for the TV names and overseas players out of their depth.

But it wasn't.

Everyone played for the fun, wound up the audience (and traded jokes when timings went wrong), worked a script that carried a stream of puns to perfection, and trooped through the song routines and ghost scenes as though they were born to their parts.

If you can't buy admission, beg, borrow, steal, pawn your granny or accept an ASBO. Do whatever is necessary - but get a seat.

To book call 01634 338338 or visit www.medway.gov.uk/theatres

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