On Stage: Aladdin, New Theatre, Cardiff


If you had three wishes for an ideal pantomime, they would be an all-star cast, a magical story line and stunning special effects. Cardiff New Theatre’s 2016 pantomime, Aladdin, certainly carries all these magical ingredients with possibly their biggest and best panto in recent years.

Aladdin wastes no time in getting into the action with Sam Kane’s gloriously devilish Abanazar setting out on his quest to find the chosen one and seeking the powerful magical lamp for his own. Abanazar is not only jeered and booed by the audience but also shown up for any shortcomings by the beautiful Scheherazade played by Linda Lusardi.

Returning comics Mike Doyle and Andy Jones who play Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee respectively, know how to inject further fun into the proceedings with comic dialogue, slapstick and impersonations. Doyle, is particularly at his best as the pantomime dame and even gets chance to shine a light on a hilarious Shirley Bassey impersonation. Mark Llewellyn Williams Emperor Ming gets to bring his operatic singing abilities to the forefront as well as work as occasional stooge for both Doyle and Jones.

Ian H Watkins, best known as a member of Steps, takes the lead role of Aladdin, displaying versatility as an all round entertainer, singing, dancing and acting while still been a joy to watch. Watkins also gets to sing some Steps hits including The Way You Make Me Feel, a duet with his enchanting love interest, Princess Jasmine, played  by Holly Bluett.

With the action and fun been so involved, Gareth Alfie Thomas' appearance midway through the show as The Genie of the lamp almost comes as a surprise, but a welcome one at that, as he gets a huge cheer and welcome from the audience.

Dance routines provided by a fabulous ensemble cast and the Lori Guppy School Of Dance enhance the show further, particularly a wonderful Peking Keystone Cops style pursuit of Aladdin via Widow Twankey’s Laundry. There are also some stunning special effects including Aladdin’s ride on a magic carpet to Egypt that flies right out into the audience during a musical sequence.

Aladdin has everything you could wish for in pantomime fun and is the perfect Christmas treat for the family. The show runs until January 17, 2016.

In Concert: Jools Holland and The Rhythm N Blues Orchestra, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

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