Recently, I heard a comedian on television state that pantomime was lost on the current generation of children who are now used to tapping away on iPads and flicking through YouTube videos. But it seems that Will Isgrove, writer and director of this production of "Aladdin", has found a way of rejuvenating this pantomime classic for a new generation.
In this pacey and action-orientated adaptation of "Aladdin," the tale is relocated from Ancient China to Ancient Arabia and there is a great deal of inspiration from Hollywood films ranging from "Indiana Jones" to "Mission Impossible".
Hints of this cinematic approach are demonstrated when the play starts mid-way through the plot and is told in flash-back and, after the interval, the audience is given a recap of what happened in the first half.
Sixth form students Jess Cover, playing Wishy Washy, and Rosie Vincent leading as Aladdin deliver very solid performances that have great rapport with the audience, especially its younger members. Ricky Reeve revels in his role as The Grand Vizier delivering a menacing yet entertaining villain whose influences seem to include Alan Rickman and many of the Disney cartoon villains.
Harley Butcher, playing the Vizier's sidekick Boo, is also very entertaining in a way reminiscent of Tony Robinson's Baldrick from the "Blackadder" series. Rachel Graham is a feisty yet sympathetic Jasmine and sings a good solo in her first pantomime role.
Nina Woodcock plays a genial and entertaining Widow Twankey and other creditable performances include Stacy Goddard's various roles as the Sultan and Ali Baba; Ryan Hammond's Genie and Rachel Wade; and Claire Garrod as bodyguards with Matt Hayward as a City Guard.
The Seagull Theatre is a very compact theatre and, rather than this being a limitation, it is used to great effect with characters appearing from the back of the theatre, through the entrance as well as from the stage and this is supported by some very strong lighting and sound design which makes the whole performance an immersive experience.
This is perhaps one of the least pedestrian and most action packed productions of "Aladdin" I have seen and it is a credit to the cast and production team that they have energised such a pantomime classic so.
Aladdin runs at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft until 24 December