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North East & YorkshirePantomimeReview

Aladdin – Harrogate Theatre

Reviewer: Sara Jackson

Writers: Phil Lowe and David Bown

Director: Marcus Romer

Harrogate Theatre’s annual pantomime returns with lots of familiar faces, fun and frolics to delight audiences and see in the festive period in traditional style.

The story follows Aladdin (Colin Kiyani) and his dim-witted brother Wishee Washee (Tim Stedman) as they attempt to rescue the love of Aladdin’s life Princess So-Shy (Christina Harris) from the evil Abbanazar and save their mothers’ laundrette from ruin.

It’s clear to see why Harrogate has welcomed Tim Stedman back for his 22nd pantomime with the venue. His gentle delivery and ability to hold the entire audience in the palm of his hand, while he guides us through the narrative with huge energy and perfect comic timing is unparalleled. The chemistry between Stedman and Howard Chadwick as Widow Twankey, particularly in a physically demanding comedic scene at the laundrette (no spoilers, but it’s comedy gold), is very clear with each able to pick up each other’s gags in an easy way, showing the importance of a returning cast who know each other well.

The highlight of this pantomime is easily the incredible costuming work. Widow Twankey’s outfits are show stealing and delightful, a particular favourite is the snowman dress. Each costume tops the last and brings a special magic to the show.

Michael Lambourne doubles as Abbanazar and the Emperor leading to lots of hilarious cover-ups as he changes costume in record times off stage. One of the highlights of the performance is a glow-in-the-dark table tennis tournament between Abbanazar and Princess So-Shy which is innovative, funny, and beautiful to watch, all at the same time. Lambourne shows great timing throughout as he laps up all the boos and hisses as the baddy of the piece and then effortlessly switches to the lovable emperor who the audience adores.

Colin Kiyani gives a show stopping performance as the triple threat performer sings, dances and bears his chest to the delight of the adults in the audience. The beautiful flying carpet scene takes the audiences breath away as Kiyani delivers a flawless cover of Sam Ryder’s Spaceman, showcasing his incredible talent.

All pantomime traditions are observed with perfection. Director Marcus Romer is clearly a fan of pantomime in its traditional form and the audience is led through all the “He’s behind you”, “Oh yes he did” and sweet throwing antics that you want from a family Christmas performance.

The opening of the show perhaps lacked a little pace as the cast found their feet, and it would have been nice to see some more of Princess So-Shy’s feisty side to subvert the expectations of the audience and allow Harris to showcase more of her clear talents.

This is a wonderful festive family romp, and you certainly will not be disappointed!

Runs until 15th January 2023.

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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