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I have to say the production of Aladdin at the Wolverhampton Grand is absolutely spot on.
Aladdin has the perfect blend for a pantomime, a great story, spectacular sets, lighting and and props; wonderful music, choreography and costumes; but what has really set it apart this year is the writing (by Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh) and the perfect pantomime cast! It is the best pantomime I have seen in years, and that goes against some strict competition!
It is so difficult to pick a favourite, but Wishee Washee (Adam C Booth) was actually the character that I warmed to and laughed at the most, without wanting to give too much away, his scenes are hilarious!
There is also a very humourous song in Act 2 where some of the cast sing about what they would like to do if they weren’t doing what they are doing. The comic timing with the props, including a feather-duster and a frying pan works brilliantly and I can honestly say I cried with laughter!
The rest of the cast are amazing too. Joe McElderry is an amusing Geordie Aladdin with an amazing voice; Lisa Riley (of Emmerdale/Strictly) fame is perfectly bubbly in her role as Slave of the Ring and Ian Adams gets the balance of kids humour and innuendo for the adults right, as well as being an amazing dancer!
I suspect some of the audience were there for Doreen Tipton though. As soon as she entered the stage as The Lazy Empress the already good atmosphere was enhanced. Her Black Country humour was really appreciated and I was amazed at how powerful her voice was!
Other stars include Lucy Kay who complemented Joe McElderry perfectly as Princess Jasmine and Ben Faulks (of CBeebies Mr Bloom fame) who was the amusing PC Ping Pong.
Credit should also be given to Neal Wright who had a powerful presence as the Genie of the Lamp and Stefan Pejic who was an extremely charismatic evil Abanazar!
A proper pantomime should work on the basic two levels of appealing to children and adults and this production of Aladdin finds that perfect blend. It also blends some up to date jokes with some good old fashioned family fun and I cannot recommend it enough!