Whitley Bay Playhouse
Where: Whitley Bay
17 December 2011 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews It is ironic that the producers of the Whitley Bay Playhouse Pantomime are called Blue Genie, as that is exactly the character who saved the day, in this production. Jimmy Burton-Iles as the Blue Genie, instantly shows he is in a class of his own. His voice, characterisation and presence are so strong he leaves all others standing, its only a pity it took over an hour for him to appear.
The show sticks the familiar story line of poor Aladdin (Jassa Ahluwalia), falling in love with the Princess (Kirsty Swain), entering the cave to get the lamp for the evil Abanazar (Simon Barnard, who also directs and is one of the writers) and becoming the master of both the Slave of the Ring (Christina Kerridge) and Genie.
Paul Harris, makes his dame, Widow Twankey, down to earth and connects with the audience very well. Although he is credited with being Comedy Routine Consultant in the programme, there is a lack of comedy moments throughout and the “slosh” scene seems particularly awkward and reserved, as does the closing of Act One. The comedy character of Wishee Washee, played by Steve Walls, somehow just does not connect with the audience all the time, however this is more down to the direction and script than his personality. The problem lies in the fact there too are many slow moments and not enough comedy.
There are numerous songs, several of which are slow, with Alicia Keys, Empire (now Peking) State of Mind was one of the opening numbers, allowing the young audience to become restless even before seeing the main characters. While we need to keep the illusions secret, the stage is so dark and smoke filled when Aladdin flies on his magic carpet (as there is hardly any light on him) it is hard to see anything, including the next scene, until the smoke clears.
There is plenty of opportunity for audience participation and we have the usual singalong and children on stage, which works well. But the direction leaves too many slow sections, which is a shame, as the cast are more than capable of delivering a first rate show. However the show looks very good, and is a vast improvement on last year.
- by John Dixon Related Content Back to Northeast Homepage
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