‘Aladdin the Wok n Roll Panto’ makes a comeback this year following its last series of Theatr Clwyd shows back in 2010.
The classic tale of Aladdin is well-known but add in some cheese and good old slapstick comedy throughout and you can’t help but enjoy it.
Starting the night off with a bang, the cast came out to do the usual meet and greet with younger audience members, many of whom were in awe of the actors.
The cast then started a Mexican wave to really get the crowd ready for a night of thrills, laughter and excitement and the pantomime spirit was up and running.
To start the performance and set the scene, the storyteller, played by Rachel Nottingham, instantly drew the audience in by telling the tale of Old Peking and the lamp of ‘Yaki Poo’, triggering laughs from the get-go.
We were told it’s ‘party time’ in the town as the Emperor is organising one of his annual balls – then in came the innuendos from Sean McKenzie’s Widow Twankey.
Twankey and Henry Roadknight’s Wishy Washy were getting the Emporer’s clothes ready for the ball at their launderette whilst Josh Tye’s Aladdin, son of Twankey, meets Nicola Martinus Smith’s Princess Lotus Blossom on the street.
In the spirit of all classic pantomimes, sparks immediately fly for the young couple, who suddenly can’t be without each other, but with Toby Lord’s evil Abanazer lurking at the scenes to steal the girl and find Yaki Poo’s lamp, the plot begins to thicken.
Most will know very well that this tale ends with success for the goodie who gets the lamp and marries his dream girl, but not so great for the baddie, poor Abanazer.
The evil wizard ultimately becomes the servant to Aladdin’s monkey, Cuddles, played by Nottingham who flits between her two roles smoothly.
Over 20 soul and classic rock songs add a great twist to the tale of Aladdin and no matter how many pantomimes you see, I definitely think this would be one to add to your list.
One of my highlights was seeing the actors’ ability to play a musical instrument throughout the performance – there’s no live band to accompany the action and the songs they perform sees the sctors showing off their incredible talents on songs we all know and love including I’m a Believer, Wild Thing, 9 to 5 and the Friends theme tune I’ll Be There for You.
Martinus-Smith’s Princess character executed the most soothing fairytale-esque singing for all songs she performed, to much of the delight of the audience but my personal favourite had to be McKenzie’s Widow Twankey, who produced a flawless performance in the ‘panto dame’ role and provided absolutely stellar comedy in each scene.
His jokes throughout and brilliant one liners provided entertainment for the parents and older members of the family, and when looking around the audience I could see all the adults laughing uncontrollably.
Twankey’s final outfit of the evening for their last song, Dancing in the Street, was a credit to the costume department, a huge sparkly red dress with a dragon’s head at the front and tail at the back with two disco balls (placed where I’m sure you can imagine) was the icing on the cake for the comedy element to the evening.
Everyone gave the cast a standing ovation for their first official evening, which was thoroughly deserved, and the majority of the audience were dancing along and having a brilliant time to the music being performed.
You couldn’t possibly want any more from a festive pantomime.
This was my first time at a Theatr Clwyd pantomime I was so impressed by how much work must have been put into this by the cast and crew.
Hannah Chissick (director) and Adrian Gee (costume designer) seem to be the perfect pair for panto.
It’s a seasonal delight for all members of the family and I already can’t wait for next year’s.
Aladdin – The Wok ‘n’ Roll Panto pantomime will be running until Saturday, January 21 with 7pm and matinee showings (at 2pm).
To book tickets call the box office on 01352 701521 or book online at www.theatrclwyd.com
See full story in the Leader