Aladdin review: Aladdin really is a pantomime for all the family – it is flamboyant, extravagant, funny and frightening; all the elements one needs for a good panto – and this one has them all.
Paul Merton of Have I Got News for You, and Just A Minute fame, plays Widow Twankey with aplomb, great humour and constant ad-libs. Dressed in fabulous costumes that in themselves raised laughter, Paul makes a convincing pantomime dame. His great verbal skills were only enhanced by the perfect foil of Pete Firman who plays Wishee-Washee. These two very different but highly talented comedians with their brilliant timing and mastery of ad-libbing make a memorable and formidable duo.
Adam Pearce as the formidable Abanazer more than holds his own – the opening scene sets the tone for the whole production and we were not disappointed. His huge baritone voice captures the audience throughout and although he could have appeared menacing, instead he just brings an element of excitement to the stage and any fearsome-ness is quickly over ruled by Cassandra McCowan, a delightful fairy- like Scheherazade. Linda John-Pierre certainly deserves praise as the comedic domineering mother of the princess – flamboyant and extreme she makes a lot of a small but well executed role.
The mystery and wonder of the magic carpet has to be seen. Aladdin took off into a beautiful starlight sky and floated out into the audience – a truly magical moment and hugest well done to Visual Special Effects – The Twins FX. Special effects are exceptional throughout – the hugest elephant appeared on stage, waving its enormous trunk and then there are the 3D scenes! As the audience are told to put on the glasses one could feel the anticipation building as before our eyes the genie appears, small, friendly and comical. The children loved him – however in parts, some of the graphics of wild beasts are dark, loud and overwhelming and might be a little frightening for smaller children.
Overall though, this is highly polished, beautifully presented pantomime not to be missed.
Aladdin plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 8th January 2019.