Panto Review: Aladdin - The Theatre at the O2, London ✭✭✭✭✭

The Theatre at the O2, London
Review by Charlotte Barrett

It's December, and you know what that means.... its panto time! "Oh no it's not...." "Oh yes it is", ok now that I've got that out of my system I better get on with it. 

Yes, if you haven't already guessed, I went to a panto this week. Not any panto though, THE London Panto of the season. This year we don our sequins sashes and polyester wigs in salute to Aladdin at the O2.

The nutty and salacious Widow Twanky is played by the one and only Lily Savage, Aladdin is played by SClub7's Jon Lee and Princess Jasmine by Marissa Dunlop. As a whole, the cast were fantastic, a total joy to watch. I was especially impressed by the quality of the ensemble; the dancing and singing was so professional, I would liken it to a long standing west end musical. 

Set in old Peking on the street of a thousand scrubbers, we follow the story of the poor Aladdin and his launderette mother, Widow Twanky in a journey from rags to riches in an attempt to win the heart the heart the beautiful Princess Jasmine whilst fighting the evil Abanazer.  

Aladdin is everything you'd expect from a Christmas musical, it was cheesy, sparkly, fun, full of giggles and songs. We heard modified songs from The King and I, Wicked, Nine and even Take That. Of course, what would a panto be, without a bit of blue humour which this had in abundance. Certain lines floated over the kids heads and tickled the adults. Lines such this one from The Slave of the Ring "Like the Internet, you'll get lots of hits, yes I'm  like google but with bigger t....."

It was clear that the cast were having a blast. A few golden improvised moments by Lily Savage cracked me up and even PC Ping/Pong enjoyed a few unscripted giggles, and why not, it is panto after all. 

The audience rallied at the end to join in song in an Aladdin version of "12 days of Christmas" complete with 5 toilet rolls, 4 pots and pans, 3 juggling balls, two football shirts, a bra that was made to fit three! 

I was surprised with the level of production, it was so polished and featured a few magical effects which I'm sure caught the imagination of all the children in the audience. Robotic elephants and a giant puppeterred genie were some of the hidden gems. The highlight of the show was the end of the first act when we saw Aladdin fly off on his magic to find the Princess Jasmine. The magic flying carpet was brought to life and floated right into audience and over our heads with seemingly "nothing" holding it up. Was it magic or SFX? It's a mystery ;-)

As I said, Aladdin really was a joy and privilege to watch, Jon Lee and Marissa Dunlop belted out a few beautiful duos and rekindled my SClub teenage crush. It really was genuinely very funny! 
I'm more than happy to give this a rousing 5/5, there was nothing I would change, nothing I would add too. Wonderful! Mulled wine anyone?

5 stars ✭✭✭✭✭

Listings Info

The Theatre at the O2
North Greenwich

Strictly limited 35 performances over the Christmas season 2012/13
Friday 7th December 2012 – Saturday 5th January 2013 

Tickets available HERE