If you’re looking for a cracker of a show complete with flying carpet, dazzling costumes and laughs a plenty then look no further than Manchester’s Opera House where Aladdin has landed for the festive season!
Before the curtain goes up the audience are buzzing with excitement, eagerly awaiting their opportunity to boo, cheer and yell out the traditional ‘It’s behind you!’ that’s part and parcel of any good panto and boy is this a good one! The evil Abanazar (John Thomson) sets the scene by rubbing his ring (ooh-err) until fabulously flamboyant Genie of the Ring (Sherrie Hewson) appears all glitter and sequins and ready for some comedy capers. Cue Magician Neil Henry (Wishee Washee) who transports us to Old Peking with some festive tricks and so the fun begins as we meet our Hero Aladdin (Ben Adams) and his larger than life washerwoman Mother the hilarious, Queen of all Pantomime Dames, Widow Twanky (Eric Potts).
Writer/Director and Widow Twanky, Eric Potts has come up with an absolute gem of a panto, with all the usual thrills you’d expect from Aladdin, Chinese laundry hijinks where poor PC Pong (Phil Holden) gets more than he bargained for after wrestling with the mangle, menacing meddling from the evil Ababazar and enough brilliant local references to keep you giggling for days, Potts and Producers First Family Entertainment have gone the extra mile by sprinkling more sparkle on this production than even the Strictly final will see.
Ben Adams makes for a brilliant Aladdin, cheeky, likeable and engaging, his voice is fantastic and he delivers each number with effortless style, he’s also rather easy on the eye which didn’t go amiss amongst the Mums in the audience! John Thomson and Sherrie Hewson make for a great comedy duo in their scenes together, it’s clear to see they are loving every minute of this show just as much as the audience watching, which makes you enjoy it just that little bit more. Bringing everything together in his own spectacular way is the marvellous Eric Potts, his Widow Twanky left me with streaked mascara and aching sides, he truly is Pantomime royalty, with perfect comedy timing and the most lavishly flamboyant costumes (designed by John Brooking) he lights up the stage and is an absolute joy to watch.
Aladdin is pure fun-packed escapism with gag after gag that will have you laughing your socks off, the great performances and stunning sets will keep the little ones totally engaged while the cheeky jokes and knowing nods will have Mum and Dad sniggering all the way home. An absolute corker!
On at the Opera House until Saturday 8th Jan