It’s December and Christmas is well and truly in full swing. There’s no better way to cement the most wonderful time of the year than watching a pantomime. The 2 tier, 700 hundred seated St. Helen’s Theatre Royal was filled to capacity with an audience ranging from couples and families to whole classes of children from local schools. The buzz in the audience before the show was infectious and exciting and I couldn’t wait to see what Aladdin had to offer.
As in any good panto, there is a baddy who we were introduced to immediately and the audience wasted no time in showing their disdain for him, booing and hissing galore. Warren Donnelly, who played the evil Abanazar created the character brilliantly and kept up his performance throughout the show. His sidekick PC Noodle (TOWIE’s Harry Derbridge) was everything you expected him to be. Camp, funny and in true TOWIE style, very very tanned. I loved how him and real life cousin Amy Childs, who played the Slave of The Ring, light heartedly stereotyped themselves and I never tired of the continuous Shut Ups, Totes Amaze and Babes references that have become almost commonplace vocabulary since the birth of The Only Way is Essex in 2010.
Aladdin was played by the very talented David Heath who may be best known as part of the boyband Eton Road who came fifth in the X Factor in 2006. Since then, David has opened his own Dance School and appears in pantomime every year. His boyish good looks make him the perfect prince and, although this is more down to writer Liam Mellor, he was an excellent role model to the hundreds of children in the audience, by sending the message that money and power and less important in life than ethics and integrity.
The scenery was authentic and cleverly staged between acts using some special effects and strategically placed cast members. By far the best part of this was the real life magic flying carpet which left my two young companions open mouthed in awe and wonderment.
A special mention has to go the dancers who were incredible the young dancers in teams Sparkle, Glitter and Fairydust will all, I am sure, have a bright future ahead of them. They certainly had some amazing role models in the senior dancers who have credits under their belt such as The Hammond School for Performing Arts, Nazene Danielle Dance Dynamix and Laine Theatre Arts.
If you get a chance see this, please do. You will not be disappointed. All of the cast were brilliant. Pantomime acting is very different to conventional acting so you need to be prepared for it being a little bit cheesy and exaggerated. Overall, I thought a great effort. The kids were shrieking with excitement, which in turn, made the adults excited and the audience engagement was totes amaze babes.
Reviewer: Ann Ellen Fazackerley
Reviewed: 7th December 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★★