OPENING nights are traumatic as well as exciting occasions and Malvern’s Aladdin was certainly both of these.
As the curtain rose, those of us in the first few rows of the stalls were engulfed in a thick mist of stage smoke and a sea of programmes were waved in defence. Missed too were lines and moves in the chaotic first few minutes of the show.
For me this is the beauty and the magic of live theatre. Pantomime audiences go for a good time not a critical time, so I shall be charitable. The keystones for success were all there and with the first night teething troubles behind them (Oh yes they are) – talent and tenacity will triumph from here on in!
As it’s Christmas allow me to indulge by reviewing in verse:
What do we want?
A nice evil baddy to boo
A princess to view
A dame in mad frocks
A hero that rocks
Just let tradition and madness ensue!
John Challis –nee Boycie – makes bad Abanazar cool
Mark James’ Wishee Washee’s our favourite fool
Loula Geater sings nicely as Spirit of the Ring
Gary Davis is majestic as the Emperor King
Danny Rogers hits the nail as PC Pong
Jacob Morris’ Genie is tiny but strong
Joely Barbour’s Jasmine is so full of grace
James Steen’s Widow Twankey has good pantomime pace
Whilst Aladdin – Aaron Jenson –
Accent and carpet flew all over the place!
Director Damian Sandys has crammed lots into his show
Christine Walls’ frocks are quite stunning you know
The set design team just kept spectaculars coming
A shout out from me for Esme Ireson’s drumming
Alistair Bull sets the dance as show choreographer
Jon Monie wrote the words as script lexicographer
Ben Merrick’s lighting was designed to impress
As was the 3D and animation FX
Couldn’t find a credit for who did the smoke
But thanks, pal, you made us shed tears and choke!
Act Two contains a spectacular magic carpet ride and one of the best slapstick scenes I’ve seen with buckets of soap, lots of slipping, sliding and general mayhem in the laundry.
All’s well that ends well and Malvern’s Aladdin ended in true pantomime splendour with a magnificent wedding walkdown.
Breathe, company – first night is over
You have a show
It will grow and grow
Audiences will come to cheer and boo
A very Merry Christmas to all of you!
Aladdin runs at Malvern Theatres until January 5.
Click here for times, tickets and more information.
Review by Euan Rose.