The Theatre Royal welcomes Regal Entertainments’ production of Aladdin to St Helens this year; a family pantomime sprinkling some magic this Christmas.

Set in old world China, the story follows the tale of Aladdin, the son of a washer woman, who dreams of meeting the beautiful Princess Jasmine. Evil Abanazer hears of the legend of the Genie of the lamp who grants its owner special powers. He tricks the young Aladdin into fetching him the lamp from the cave of wonders, but doesn’t plan for what happens next…

The show is a real delight and there was a full house at the Theatre Royal with people ranging in ages, all enjoying the music, the dancing and the story.

The cast are clearly enjoying performing in such a fun show which shows in their performances. Nick Cochrane could possibly be the country’s oldest Aladdin, but seems to be relishing in performing to the people of St Helens. Master of illusions, Richard De Vere is the ultimate panto villain, with a mix of humour, sorcery and moments that genuinely frighten some of the audience.

A special mention must also go to Schnorbitz, the friendly St Bernard who draws a huge cheer.

There are plenty of scene changes, which keeps the children from getting restless, although the first half is slightly too long. One standout scene involves Princess Jasmine (Leah Murphy) and So Shi (Eloise Tasker) singing ‘Part of that World’ from The Little Mermaid which had the youngsters enraptured.

Some of the special effects in this production really are wonderful, particularly one involving a certain magic carpet. It really has to be seen to be believed!

The whole company numbers are particularly impressive, with the dancers working hard and showing their talents. While the costumes, particularly some of those worn by Widow Twanky (Si Foster), and choreography is also very good.

If you’re looking for a fun-filled panto this Christmas, then the Theatre Royal is the place to go, as this production will satisfy the whole family.

- David Jack