Anyone thinking the Mayflower couldn’t top its previous two Brian Conley-led Christmas pantos had better think again.
Aladdin is everything you want in two hours of fun for all the family – blending cutting edge stage technology with good old slapstick fun.
The infectious and all-round talents of Conley may not be here this year, but this is very much a team effort bringing together one of the finest pantos you’ll ever see.
Joe Pasquale leads the way with the gags as Wishee Washee, mixing enough fart gags for the kids with a few double entendres to keep the grown-ups smiling throughout.
The former I’m A Celebrity winner is ably assisted by Ceri Dupree in a wonderful turn as Widow Twankey, while Cavin Cornwall plays baddie Abanazar to a tee by drawing plenty of boos and hisses from the audience.
Duncan James shows off his singing voice – along with his muscles – in the role of Aladdin, with Holly Brewer displaying her vocal talents as Princess Jasmine.
But the undoubted musical highlight is the hilarious Old Peking number, where four cast members time some comedic moves to perfection with an act Morecambe & Wise would have been proud of.
And then there’s the 3D show. Getting on the glasses for ‘special effects’ can sometimes leave you underwhelmed. But the efforts from Whizzbang 3D Productions do not disappoint as the Genie of the Lamp comes to life, along with a few less friendly creatures including a spider, snake and crocodile.
Add to that the visual effects of a flying carpet which turns Pasquale upside down, a giant elephant and pyrotechnics, and this is one magical ride you’ll want to be a part of.
Aladdin runs until Sunday, January 3. Tickets on (023) 8071 1811 or visit mayflower.org.uk
– ERICA FROST