Lovers of traditional panto will missee Wishee in Qdo’s latest take on Aladdin but both the kids and the grown-ups will find plenty to entertain them in this colourful and lively hi-tech production.
TV light entertainment star [Stephen Mulhern makes a cheeky and charming hero, with Coronation Street villain [Gray O’Brien] suitably sinister as the evil wizard ]Abanazar, but it is the 3D Genie who steals the show.
One hundred years ago moving pictures would have provided a novel distraction for the discerning audience of the day. Now we all don giant spectacles for those crucial scenes in which the lamp decants the magical one, ducking and diving as stones, spiders and bats fly straight towards us, taking a magical carpet ride to Abanazar’s Lair and flying into the jaws of a fire-breathing dragon.
The 3D effects are certainly scary enough for the younger members of the audience while the adults find it just as entertaining.
This Aladdin is a slick and polished spectacle which is long on laughter but curiously short on any emotional appeal. Thanks heavens, then, for the input of Andrew Ryan’s brash Widow Twankey, the very embodiment of all that a Dame should be with a lusty eye for the lads, a fine singing voice and an outrageous supply of frocks. He is ably supported by Emma Cannon’s Scherezade The Enchantress and Paul Gabriel as the Chief of Police while Katie Hall is pretty enough to make any man risk his head for a peek.
With no Wishee Washee, precious little tension and the Laundry merely providing the backdrop to a chase scene this panto gets by on the bare bones of the story. However there is still time for some wonderful and timeless routines, mostly provided by the Widow, including an outrageous rendering of the Twelve Days of Christmas in which James Paterson’s Emperor is the butt of the humour and a pair of rubber gloves, a cluster of loo rolls and an oversized bra prove that low-tech is still king in this spectacular but strangely superficial seasonal offering.
- Nick Brunger