Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Panto Review: Aladdin at the Shaw Theatre

Shaw Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 16th December 2014

I have seen some crazy pantos over the years, but the Shaw Theatre's production of Aladdin could quite possibly be the craziest. After being dazzled by Wimbledon's spectacular panto last week, it was nice to see a more simple pantomime which relies less on its big budget and star casting.

The people of King's Cross were having the time of their lives! Children were jumping to their feet and some adults were making the most peculiar noises - everyone seemed to be having a great time! The audience were up for a laugh which makes all the difference.

Following his appearance on Britain's Got Talent, Chris Dennis is the star of the show. Dennis' Widow Twankey is less of a traditional panto dame and more of a drag diva which makes a refreshing and enjoyable change. Dennis had the audience in hysterics throughout with his quick wit and impeccable comic timing. His costumes (and wigs) became more and more outrageous. He shines opposite the equally hilarious Paul Lawrence-Thomas as Wishee-Washee.

Justin Thomas and Helen Kurup are let loose to riff their way through a number from Dreamgirls (it's wonderful to see a musical theatre number in a panto for a change!) as well as a variety of pop songs. Thomas has natural charm, making him the perfect panto prince (plus he can do back flips - what's not to love?) whilst Kurup plays a feisty Jasmine.

With Frozen-fever and Idina Menzel's belty vocals taking over the world, it seems every panto is featuring 'Let It Go' this year... and sure enough, just as Aladdin was about to ride his magic carpet, the already-iconic song was belted out. The audience didn't even need an invitation to sing-a-long! 

This was my first time revisiting the Shaw Theatre since the very first time I was ever invited to review a production in August 2012. It was great to be back, the seating is comfortable and the auditorium is the perfect size for a panto - it isn't too small but still has intimacy. 

The jokes are cheap, the set is tacky and the cast are getting to grips with a twelve show week - what more could you want from a panto?! Although the running time feels a little long, Aladdin at the Shaw Theatre provides a great theatrical experience for the family. There is lots for the kids to take in plus even more than usual to keep the parents chuckling away all the way through.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Aladdin runs at the Shaw Theatre until Saturday 3rd January 2015.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

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