The Christmas shows at the Stephen Joseph Theatre are always keenly anticipated in our family and we are always richly rewarded with a shimmering performance that entertains us all.
I’d like to say that Aladdin was no different, but that would be to do it an injustice.
Director Chris Monks, has created a generous, energetic and witty performance brought to life by a spirited cast and skilful production team. Excuse the cliché, but it’s definitely a “must-see” this Christmas.
Sven Gali (Ian Crowe) and Mr Ghobad (Andy Cryer) played archetypical baddies, whose pompous preening and plotting gave plenty to boo and hiss at. Meanwhile goodies Aladdin (Jay Saighal in his debut performance) and Princess Badrouulbadour ( Arabella Rodrigo) were engaging as the star-crossed lovers using love, music and the energetic , all-powerful genie Nuri (Victoria Hamnett) to win the day.
No Christmas performance is complete without a pantomime dame and Mrs Darzi (Paul Ryan) added extra sparkle to the show with a combination of slapstick, innuendo and exuberance that had my six-year-old daughter squirming impishly with laughter.
As usual the outreach cast shone, especially during their effervescent performance of Happy. As there are so many talented young actors it would be unfair to single anyone out, particularly the ones I’ve had the privilege of teaching, suffice to say you all helped make Aladdin such a sparkling show.
Like the lamp the pantomime was polished enough to deliver, but not over-shined. This may sound like a criticism, but it’s not; perfection wouldn’t have given us laughter, interaction, epic wig failures and delighted screams from the audience.
It runs until Saturday January 3