Marking its first expedition into the pantomime Cave of Wonders, the SECC's Aladdin emerges carrying armfuls of both gold and lead.
As the dashing laundress's son Aladdin, West End star John Barrowman is everything an audience wants of its hero. Playing to his Scottish roots through a Hollywood smile, Barrowman sings his numbers with as much enthusiasm as if he were performing at The Royal Albert Hall, channelling an intimacy which could be lost in such a huge venue. The Krankies are pantomime royalty and still reign supreme after six years absence from the Scottish stage. Wee Jimmy's turn as Susan Boyle is uproariously funny and, although the script's humour feels indiscriminately national, the pair tickle the evening Glaswegian. Yet, the first act suffers from over-corpsing, fart jokes and songs sewn into the script like patches on Twankee's bloomers. But this is panto, not Pinter. It picks up nicely in the second, boosted by an impressive set of oriental dragons and the much touted 3D Genie, an effect making the performance half-pantomime, half-theme park ride. As Twankee traded her son's old lamp for a shiny new one, it seems that this Aladdin has lost sight of the Glasgow pantomime tradition in a blaze of new technology. Thankfully, its excellent cast saves it.