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Review: ALADDIN – Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon


ALADDIN
Ashcroft Theatre, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon CR9 1DG

It is plain to see why this year’s Aladdin is selling Fairfield Halls out, with its fantastic cast, witty jokes and entertainment for children and adults alike. Panto is a treat for all the family and Aladdin is a classic pantomime favourite that has been entertaining families young and old for years. Filled with custard pies, adult jokes, songs from the charts and musicals mixed in with old classics and ‘a bra that was made to hold three’, Croydon have taken the traditional pantomime formula and have successfully made it even better.

Abanazar (Larry Lamb) is a fabulous baddie played deftly by Lamb. Lamb’s portrayal of the part makes him nearly likable with his overwhelming desire to be a serious Shakespearean actor - and he’s not Nasty Nick! Lamb had the younger members of the audience in the palm in his hand and the children screaming for Aladdin to not trust him when he returned to Abanazar’s manipulative, evil ways.

The Spirit of the Ring (Kelly Chinery) stole the show. Chinery was absolutely hilarious and was given an opportunity with to showcase her stunning voice with a beautiful interpretation of Wicked’s Defying Gravity. When on stage with the remarkable Genie of the Lamp (Nathaniel Morrison), also known as Mr G, they provided an extra dimension of humour for teenagers and parents.

Of course the children’s favourites were Aladdin and Jasmine brought to life by Anthony Hansen and Rosa O’Reilly who gave wonderful performances enthralling the younger audience with their love story and the two children chosen to join the cast on stage quite rightly named them as their favourite characters.

Amongst all the modern humour, the traditional pantomime gags were not forgotten and Quinn Patrick’s Widow Twankey worked superbly with Joe Tracini’s Wishee Washee and Oliver Broad’s P.C. Pongo to delight the audience with their slapstick comedy, custard pies and “he’s behind you!” sequences that everyone expects (and secretly loves!).

The ensemble was equally impressive, with a gorgeous contemporary dance during one song that followed effortlessly. The set was bright, fun and there are several notable mentions in the design. Widow Twankey’s colourful laundrette and the beautiful village provide an excellent contrast to the dark cave Abanazar lures Aladdin to.

One thing is certain - get down to see this fantastic panto while you can, it promises not to disappoint even the grumpiest of grandparents or teenagers!

Aladdin plays at the Ashcroft Theatre until 2 January. Tickets £18-£26 from www.fairfield.co.uk

Reviewed by Louise Miles

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