What do a sock puppet snake, water pistols and a washing machine have in common?
It sounds like a joke straight out of a panto script, – and indeed it is just one of many funny moments in Aladdin, this year’s pantomime at the Kings, which runs until January 4. Audience members were drenched by the cast after they laughed at Widow Twankey’s missing washing, stolen by the sock snake.
Twankey, played by Phil Randall, was one of the highlights of the star-studded ensemble, which included Antony Costa from former boy band Blue who plays Aladdin and Gosport-born Marcus Patrick from Hollyoaks who plays the Genie of the Ring.
They were joined by panto veterans Jack Edwards, playing Abanazar, Christopher Marlowe, donning the wigs yet again to play the Empress of China, and Aiden J Harvey, who takes on the role of Wishee Washee, Aladdin’s dim brother.
Audience members of all ages had their favourites.
‘Aladdin was good because he was funny,’ said Ashley Young, nine, of Havant.
‘My favourite character was Widow Twankey because of the costumes and that she had the best characterisation,’ said Lucie Jones, 18 from Swanmore.
‘I’m surprised at how good Antony Costa is,’ said Matt Collings, 31, from Eastney, and John Biles, 31, from Stamshaw said: ‘I don’t usually come to pantos but I enjoyed Abanazar coming on and everyone booing, it’s great fun for the kids.’
This had all the components of a classic panto, including the ‘he’s behind you’ gag – this time with a mummy. In places it had been modernised for younger audiences. The voluptuous Twankey entered the stage after the interval to Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, and Princess Yasmin, played by Kitty Brucknell, belted out Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen, much to the delight of every girl in the audience – and the bemusement of some parents.
The biggest laughs of the night came from Wishee Washee. Harvey’s plethora of accents were a hit with children and parents, particularly a Churchill advert dog impression which became a recurring chant the audience had to fire back at him.
Dancing and singing numbers peppered the story, including a jive to a Grease medley and Genie of the Lamp Jade Ellis singing Listen by Beyonce.