Writer: Paul Ferguson
Director: Paul Ferguson
Musical Arranger: Simon Barnard
Choreographer: Alison Hefferon
Reviewer: Anna Ambelez
Street urchin Aladdin (Sam Ebenezer) dreams of marrying the love of his life, Princess Jasmine (Charlotte Chinn), but unless he can turn his fortune around, his dream will never come true. Hope appears in the shape of the sorcerer Abanazer (Shane Lynch), who poses as a family friend to win Aladdin’s trust. A much-needed bag of gold will be Aladdin’s heirloom, on the condition he ventures into a cave and retrieve a lamp for Abanazer. However, problems ensue when Aladdin becomes trapped, and must enlist the help of the Slave Of The Ring (Natasha Boyde).
The scene is set with a somewhat lengthy verbal introduction, followed by a regular Whitley Bay favourite, Steve Walls as Wishee Washee. Instantly connecting with the audience (his gang), he brings the show to life. PC Left (Rebecca Shorrocks) and PC Right (Paul F Taylor), also known as Short and Curly, inject much humour and physical comedy into their scenes; Shorrocks even doubles up as the Emperor, switching costumes during scenes. Surely a duo Whitley Bay will be seeing more of. Georgia Nicholson takes on an original twist on Lamp Genie, and Paul Harris as Widow Twanky, having only received the script the day before, gives an excellent performance, showing the true accomplished professional he is. Relying solely on acting ability throughout the performance, although fantastic, Boyzone fans hoping to hear Lynch sing may feel a little disappointed, as we are kept waiting until the finale when he delivers a single verse of Love Me For A Reason.
Director Paul Ferguson packs the entire show with physical acrobatics and comic movement, the children in the audience clearly enjoying every second. The romantic duet between Aladdin and Jasmine, helped, or hindered, by Wishee Washee, is particularly amusing and a hilarious chase in the style of the keystone cops ensues. There is speedy word delivery, tongue twisters and ingenious local references. With an impressive magic carpet scene, Aladdin is appreciated by younger and older audience members alike.
This classic Christmas story, originally a Middle Eastern folk tale found in The Arabian Nights is full of Eastern delight, but a great opportunity to present an exotic, colourful set is somewhat missed. The scenery is colourful but would benefit from more vibrancy and the almost permanent carpet of smoke further hinders definition, making it appear very ‘wishee washee’.
That said, however, comedy and action abounds, and Aladdin provides some great family entertainment, the packed auditorium a testament to its success.
Runs until 2 January 2017 | Image: Contributed