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BrumHour was invited to see Aladdin by Blue Orange Theatre.
By Julie Wallis
Aladdin at Blue Orange Theatre
Directed by Tomas Wolstenholme written by James Williams
Panto season is here. Oh yes, it is!
Aladdin is at Blue Orange Theatre until 8th December, billed as “affordable family panto flying into Birmingham”. With tickets from £8, this charmingly intimate theatre plays host to all the fun of a traditional panto complete with booing, baddies, loads of recognisable songs, men dressed as women, audience participation, laughs aplenty and even a magic carpet that really flies!
A faithful retelling of Aladdin, the skinny street rat who has to steal to live but who falls in love with the beautiful princess Jasmin. Aladdin enters a cave in search of a magic lamp for the evil Abanazar, where he meets the genie who changes his luck. But is magic and good luck enough to win the heart of a princess and defeat the evil baddie? Of course, it is.
I loved last nights very energetic performance and the audience were equally as enthusiastic as the cast. At one point I was laughing as much at the children in the audience screaming “it’s behind you” as I was at the slapstick comedy.
The stand out scene for me was when Aladdin (Lewis Collier-Smith) and Wishee Washee (Will Wheeler) were dressed as women, complete with crop tops exposing hairy bellies and tin ribs! to try to fool Abanazar (Tom Parkinson). Tom makes for a deliciously wicked baddie who delights in telling the audience to shut up when they are booing him. Theatrically over the top, Tom is perfection as the baddie that everyone loves to hate.
Genie (Amelia Cameron-Padmore) adds her own magic touch and delights the audience with her own version of the song Never Had a Friend Like Me. Princess Jasmin (Rachel Hoskins) and Bessie the maid (Lauren Stevenson) embraced their characters with gusto and threw themselves into their roles.
Lewis Collier-Smith as Aladdin looks the part of the hungry street rat he is playing and very acrobatic in his dance routines.
Pantomime is such a part of a British Christmas tradition it’s lovely to find a small theatre offering affordable shows in a less overwhelming space. Last nights audience were as much a part of the show as the cast by the end. Speaking of which, the final few minutes of the show were dedicated to a funny and clever routine with impeccable comedy timing and lots more slapstick humour. The two little boys behind me were delighting in being squirted with a water pistol whilst at the same time enjoying the visual comedy.
This small cast is perfectly suited to this space as the audience is almost touching distance from them and so the interactions between cast and audience really work. I soon found myself shouting “watcha Wishee” when he appeared on stage and when a child shouted “he’s gone” at the perfect moment the entire auditorium was laughing.
This young cast have put their heart and soul into this fabulously festive two hours and I really appreciated all the obvious hard work. It really shows when all the cast were on stage to dance a huge routine to Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)
Don’t come along expecting to see the Disney version of Aladdin, this is the traditional panto blended with a few Disney songs and contemporary tunes. Offering terrific value this is an ideal first pantomime.
Aladdin is at Blue Orange Theatre until 8th December 2019. Book tickets here: blueorangetheatre.co.uk/project/aladdin
The team returns for Sleeping Beauty from 2nd to 13th December 2020. Book tickets here: blueorangetheatre.co.uk/project/sleeping-beauty-2nd-13th-december
This isn’t a sponsored post.