Aladdin at the Kings Theatre, Southsea REVIEW: 'A rocking start on the opening night'
MIX together cheeky jokes, outrageously loud costumes and dazzling dance routines and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a family pantomime.
And set in the splendour of the Kings Theatre in Southsea this year’s production of Aladdin was nothing short of brilliant.
Beaming and giggling children watched on as Kings stalwart Jack Edwards took centre stage as the dame – back for his fifth pantomime, performing as Widow Twankey.
Dressed in an outfit likely to turn heads on a night out in Albert Road, and with the finest panto makeup to boot, Edwards breathed life into the oldest of panto conventions.
Opening night delighted the packed theatre with a healthy injection of pop culture references – with even Prince Andrew referenced, entirely to his own detriment.
Reprising the role of Abanazar for the fourth time Boyzone’s Shane Lynch clearly relished in playing the bad guy.
Fresh from a farewell tour with Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham and Keith Duffy he performed the switch from swoon-inducing boyband member to cruel pantomime villain brilliantly.
Phats & Small’s Ben Ofoedu seized the mantle of genie – easily beating Will Smith’s ill-fated outing in the latest Disney incarnation of (the very non-pantomime version) Aladdin that came out this year.
Drayton-based mum Sharon Pritchard, 47, was with her daughter Emily, six, and son Ollie, 15, and her husband Giles, 47.
Asked her favourite part up to the interval, young Emily said: ‘When Widow Twankey danced. I like coming to the panto.’
Mum Sharon added: ‘She really loves it – the dancing and the show–- and my son is 15 and he loves the adult humour. It’s great for both of them.’
Combining a mix of adult jokes that remained indecipherable to the younger generation was a feat easily hit by Wishee Washee played by Mike Goble and the titular character played by Daniel Slade.
The Voice’s Lucy Kane brought a touch of elegance to the brilliantly gaudy outing as she played Princess Jasmine, with West End’s Dani Acors as the Spirit of the Ring.
Special attention should go to the backing dancers who rightly drew the spotlight on more than one occasion.
Over the course of nearly three hours the show transported the audience from Peking in China to Cairo in Egypt – via a spooky 3D forest with the help of special effect glasses picked up on entry.
The show runs to January 5. Call the box office on (023) 9282 8282 or see kingsportsmouth.co.uk