I LOVE pantomimes, I love the format they follow and the laughter they give you. This love has lasted for as long as I can remember, they are so quintessentially British. Christmas would not be Christmas without going to see one.
We were at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln the other day to see their Pantomime of 2017, Aladdin. I had high hopes for this year’s panto as we saw Sleeping beauty there in 2015 and it was highly entertaining. On most days this winter they have two performances, which considering the length of this pantomime must be quite a feat for the cast. The panto is on now until the 6th January 2018.
My Review – Aladdin, New Theatre Royal
We arrived around 20 minutes before the 2pm performance. The entrance lobby was packed. You can purchase sweets from here plus for Aladdin they had light up wands and swords to buy for the little ones, or yourself! We had seats for the Royal Stalls (the floor), there is a small bar next to here selling soft and alcohol-containing drinks.
Walking around this theatre is really like stepping back in time, which as it was built in 1893 is no surprise. It still retains its character from back then. Seating is on 3 floors and coming from a person who has sat on the highest floor, at the back, there is a good view no matter where you are.
The story of Aladdin starts with an introduction by the Genie who is played by X-Factor’s Andy Abraham. We then meet the very well played Abanazar, by Ian Crowe. Expect plenty of mini firework explosions and smoke which all adds to the atmosphere. This is especially so for Abanazar’s character as the audience were soon booing. He was so convincing as a baddie that there were quite a few little children crying.
Jamie had a great time joining in with all the booing and other expected pantomime moments. There was plenty of adult jokes as well as jokes for everyone. A smile rarely left our faces. They used many modern and classic songs within the script. Plus a few original songs which I wasn’t expecting and made a nice change to a modern day pantomime.
We soon met the rest of the cast including four professional dancers backed up by sixteen local boys and girls from across the County. Alessandro Lubrano plays Aladdin and the equally gorgeous Anna Hannides is Princess Jasmine. They both have fabulous singing voices and I was very impressed by them.
We all loved the pantomime Dame, Donna Kebab who is played by Patrick Kearns. He went through many great costume changes and I loved his jokes and ad-libs. Or should I say her?
One of the things that really stood out for me was the bright colourful costumes. They looked great and really made me feel like we were in Marrakesh. Chris Johnson from CBBC’s plays Cous-Cous, who is Aladdin’s brother. He has a monkey with him for some of the performance which was highly entertaining and an extra bit of fun for the kids.
One thing I was really surprised by was how long the show lasted for. I can’t be exact as I left my phone at home but including the interval we were there for close to three hours and most of this was the performance. I have never been to such a long panto before. The first half alone was nearly one and a half hours meaning a mad dash interval for Jamie. During the first half, we saw Aladdin and Jasmine fall in love. He needs jewels to be able to ask for her hand in marriage. But from a poor family, he simply does not have such wealth.
I’m not going to include any spoilers in my review. They have been included in the show as surprises so I will leave them as that. All I can say is that we had a couple of wow and unexpected moments.
Aladdin doesn’t meet the genie until much later in the show. After helping Abanazar ‘open sesame’ but getting locked inside the cave he kept asking the audience what he’s supposed to do with the famous lamp. Queue lots of shouting ‘rub it’. There were many opportunities to join in and there was plenty more than the usual ‘he’s behind you’ and ‘booooo’.
There’s a really lovely carpet ride scene. It was one of my favourite parts of the panto. The second half really came into its own. After a 20 minute interval, the second half lasted for nearly another hour. There was even an opportunity for some children to go up on stage and help Cous Cous out with a song.
If you are wanting value for money for this year’s panto then Aladdin at the New Theatre Royal will not disappoint. If you are looking for laughs, entertainment, opportunities to join in and surprises it will again not disappoint. Well done Theatre Royal, a great production thank you.
Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of our review. All words are my own and photos of the cast are courtesy of the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln. Please do not copy any of my text or images.
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