The applause and screaming from the audience at the end of Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre suggests this is going to be a hit for the festive season.
But although the stage was filled with twinkly sets and beautiful costumes, the story of cruel Abanazar’s search for the magical lamp and his quest for power and the hand of Princess Jasmine fell somewhat flat for me. This was my first visit to a Milton Keynes panto and possibly my expectations were too high, following the ringing endorsements I had heard from previous years.But that’s not to say it was bad, and some elements were definitely excellent.
For example, Kev Orkian playing Aladdin’s brother Wishee Washee, and Gary Wilmot as the outrageously dressed Widow Twankey were great in all their scenes and had the audience eating out of their hands. Ben Adams as Aladdin and Aimie Atkinson as Princess Jasmine made a pretty pair.There was a flying carpet, an elephant and an amazing giant balloon trick from Bruce Airhead.
Wishee Washee was playfully insulting towards the auidence with one liners like: “Look at him, spent all day doing his hair and came out without it.”
And Widow Twankey brought a brief respite from her outrageous costumes and behaviour when singing a very tender song about a mother’s love for her children.
On a return to outlandish behaviour however, a song and props sketch involving five central members of the cast saw poor Wishee Washee being hit by Aladdin’s massive boxing gloves and had the audience in stitches.
Evil Abanazar, played by talented Marc Pickering, bathed throughout in a green light, was a consummate baddie and led an impressive rock star dance sequence singing his version of Sympathy For The Devil.
The weak links really were the two genies.The endless Elvis Presley song titles were a little overdone. This was in reference to Elvis’s ex-wife, Priscilla, who played the Genie of the Lamp and made her arrival floating onstage on a golden ring. She looked incredible, and rocked a lovely genie outfit, but she didn’t move much on stage. Although Wayne Sleep, as Genie of the Ring, was on stage more, he didn’t really shine until his impresive top hat and tails tap routine.
The panto runs until Sunday Janaury 10. For tickets and showtimes go to www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes