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THE STAGE REVIEWS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ALADDIN

Rock’n’Roll Aladdin - The Stage

14 December 2009 -  Gerald Berkowitz


An enjoyable medium-scale panto, this production bills itself as driven by rock’n’roll, but the magpie score, which includes at appropriate points such songs as I’m a Believer and Magic Carpet Ride, but also an updated version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, isn’t all that different from the standard panto repertoire, and it isn’t really until a Twist and Shout-driven finale that the place really begins to rock.


But the music is inevitably less interesting to the children in the audience than the opportunities to boo Billy Geraghty’s satisfyingly nasty Abanazar, greet Wishee Washee at every entrance, shout “Behind you!” about, for some reason, a gorilla, be squirted by Twankey and Wishee’s water cannons and be thrillingly scandalised when a male teacher is brought on stage and dressed in a tutu.


Despite an admirable collection of outrageous frocks and a nice line in topical allusions and double entendres, Graham Kent’s Widow Twankey never connects with the kids as fully as Chris Coxon’s perky and slapstick-prone Wishee, while the lovers, played by Oliver Seymour-Marsh and Tara Nelson, provide warm and not too gooey romance.


While the children might not notice, adults can appreciate the versatility of a cast who double as house band, backing each other and sometimes themselves on a variety of instruments.