Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – until 22 January 2017
Two talent show entrants, one Strictly Come Dancing star, one obligatory man in a frock and Doreen from Tipton! The cast itself was promising for this year’s pantomime extravaganza at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, and Aladdin did not disappoint. A resplendent set, a beautifully choreographed ensemble of dancers and a laugh-a-minute script delivered perfectly. I think the Grand’s panto is going to take a lot of beating, this year.
Past X Factor winner Joe McElderry played the title role and his vocal ability has certainly not diminished over time, his sparkling cheesy grin was also a great asset to the role of Principal Boy and I thought he gave a sterling performance. He played opposite Lucy Kay as Princess Jasmine, another performer recognisable from the telly, this time from Britain’s Got Talent. The pair were a good match.
Lisa Riley was a bubbly and lively Slave of the Ring. She was originally known from Emmerdale, then You’ve Been Framed and is now best known for having been a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing a couple of years ago, so of course her entrance music was the Strictly theme tune! Ian Adams was a traditional Widow Twankey, throwing himself energetically into the gags and his costumes were glamorous and novel, an impressive Dame.
Adam C Booth was such a tonic as Wishee Washee, the part couldn’t have been better cast and I thought that he was brilliant with the young children who came up on stage for the community song. Stefan Pejic was a menacing Abanazar and, he seemed to be enjoying playing the villain which gave him an edge in the part. My all-time favourite had to be Doreen Tipton who played The Lazy Empress, she was in a wheelchair, then on a mobility scooter, all of her gags were incorporated into the script and because it was Wolverhampton, they worked. I hope to see her in panto every year, now – what inspired casting.
Doreen Tipton was my favourite!
There was a good selection of musical numbers, although I did feel that a few more wouldn’t have gone amiss, however the comedy provided from Widow Twankey, Wishee Washee, Slave of the Ring and PC Ping Pong (Ben Faulks) more than made up for that. The effects used were quite something and the end of act one was a sight to behold, indeed. I shan’t spoil it but let’s just say that Joe McElderry could have said hello to Australia from that angle…
It’s good family fun, my Son is almost three years old and he thoroughly enjoyed it, engaged well with it and is talking about it. It’s also got quite a long run so there’s plenty of time to go and embrace the magic of panto in Wolverhampton.