REVIEW: Aladdin, Ferneham Hall, Fareham
RAUCOUS one-liners, spectacular costumes and a rapping genie romped an appreciative audience through a brilliant panto production of Aladdin.
Youngsters booed and hissed with glee last night at Ferneham Hall in Fareham as modern twists on classic characters dominated the stage.
Tongue-in-cheek quips from Mark Siney’s Widow Twankey and Matt Davitt’s Emperor of Peking kept parents laughing through the two-hour show fit for toddlers and teenagers.
From the picturesque setting of Peking to Widow Twankey’s laundrette and the secret cave hiding the genie’s lamp, this Jordan Productions panto had it all.
Actor Clive Mantle, who played consultant Mike Barratt in Casualty and has just finished work on TV’s Still Open All Hours, starred as villain Abanazaar.
Transformations were the order of the day with laundrette boy Aladdin, played by professional production debutante Danielle Haywood, taking on a task only fit for a hero – and the stern Emperor taught to ‘loosen up’ a bit.
Red-faced Geoff Fazackarley – the mayor of Fareham – was quickly singled out as an objection of affection by Widow Twankey in a show that fed off audience participation in true panto style.
Girl band Stooshe’s Karis Anderson kicked off the night acting as a rapper-turned-narrator before joining in the action to back up Genie of the Lamp Jason Denton as Aladdin strove to win back Princess So-Shi, played by Divine Cresswell.
The VIP and press night won accolades from families.
Disco dance classic Boogie Wonderland intermingled with up-to-the-minute jokes about dating app Tinder and a gravity-defying magic carpet ride above the stage.
Shop manager Peter Dyke, 41, from Fulmer Walk, in Wecock Farm, brought along his 11-year-old daughter Isabel Dyke.
She said: ‘It was really good, I liked the participation and the song choices.’
Shop worker Kaylam Taylor, 20, was there with other colleagues of Peter’s.
‘It’s really good, I’ve enjoyed a new view on it,’ he said.
‘They’ve kept it up to date so the kids are getting involved.’
‘I’ve liked the choice of songs, they’re really upbeat.’
Speaking after the performance, Clive said: ‘It’s been good, we’ve done six shows.
‘We’ve had a merciful day off to repair and come in fresh today. It’s been great, it’s hard work.’
He added: ‘The atmosphere is fantastic and it’s a very, very friendly happy cast.’
Christian Lee played Aladdin’s brother clown-turned-magician Wishee Washee.
He said: ‘It’s been great, we’ve had a ball. Every night has been perfect.’
Danielle added: ‘The aduience have been great. I can’t even get half way through what I’m saying and the kids are shouting out – they’ve been amzaing.’