Aladdin on tour - That's Entertainment Productions
Reviewed by Alan Maskell
I caught up with this production as it finished at the first venue of three in a tour that started on 8th in Cambridgeshire and finishes on 30th December on the Isle of White.
The Brook at Soham has a smallish stage but a big welcome for entertainment and the audience were certainly not disappointed with the show. It's a production that features an interesting mix of principals from a variety of backgrounds - Abanazer is expertly played by Lloyd Notice, a West End actor who, amongst other roles, appeared in The Lion King as Mufasa; television performers Anthony Joblin as Wishey-Washey and Howie Watkins as Widow Twanky certainly fulfil the traditional comic and dame roles well, while dancer Katherine Mansi is a charming Slave of the Ring.
The parts of Aladdin and the Princess themselves are taken by Michael Jordan and Tamsyn Sear. This is High Jinx's first foray into pantomime and they do extremely well, both showing they are very capable of signing, clowning and acting alongside the rest of the cast and it's a cast that have gelled really well together - in the show I saw, everyone was obviously enjoying themselves and encouraging the audience to enjoy the fun too. One obviously new ad-lib was Widow Twankey's over emphasis of Michael's more northern pronunciation, which had cast and audience laughing.
Magic was included but not shoe-horned in and worked well - it was inevitable that the Princess should be flattened by a giant mangle but it was the little bits of magic that magicians take for granted that genuinely produced some ohs and ahs from the audience - silk to rose for one - and a simple vanishing bottle surprised many too. Alongside the magic Michael also gets the opportunity to show his skill on a unicycle and on the ukulele! As a touring show the staging is simple but effective, the costumes are good and the fun and enthusiasm is as good, if not better, than full theatre pantomimes I've seen and the audience of all ages really enjoyed the show.
It's now on at Haverhill before moving to Newport on the Isle of White - if you get the chance why not get along and enjoy an evening of simple pleasures and real fun!
© Alan Maskell, December 2011