Writer: Alan McHugh with additional material by Joe Pasquale
Director: Jonny Bowles and Joe Pasquale
Reviewer: Maggie Constable
t’s that time of year again. Hop on board the magic flying carpet at Milton Keynes Theatre for the ride of a lifetime that is the Aladdin pantomime. It stars none other than Lee Mead as Aladdin with Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee.
This is a traditional Middle Eastern tale, as old as time (as the song says), and a much loved and classic pantomime story. We find poor Aladdin lost and in love with Princess Jasmine but whose encounters with the evil Abanazar and the benign Scheherazade and genie will change his life forever. Of course, being a classic panto, we are treated to lots of cheesy jokes and fun, laughter aplenty, interaction with the audience and more. To say nothing of the songs. QDos productions has ensured that this pantomime has it all.
Lee Mead brings us the eponymous hero and does so with his natural charm and stage presence. His singing, especially his rendition of his most famous number Any Dream Will Do, is superb, as one might expect. He is, after all, a very seasoned musical performer as well as solo artist and television actor.
Comedian Joe Pasquale, who also part-wrote and co-directs this show, gives us Wishee Washee. His humour and sheer joy on stage are infectious. He is the glue that holds the whole piece together and there is good chemistry between him and Lee Mead. The latter makes an excellent foil to Pasquale’s Wishee Washee antics. There are a couple of times when the two ad-lib just because they are clearly having such fun.
David Robbins as Widow Twankey, our pantomime dame, is excellent. The perfect blend of silly and naughty and a sound singing voice to boot. What an amazing range of costumes he wears and has apparently designed himself. Talent indeed.
Tegan Bannister, taking on the part of Princess Jasmine, treats us to some excellent vocals, even if her stage presence is somewhat understated. Debra Michaels’ Empress, by contrast, is a real force to be reckoned with. Phil Corbitt does the baddy to a tee as Abanazar. Sarah Earnshaw is spot on as Scheherazade the Slave of the Ring. What a lovely voice.
One of the most memorable and very clever moments is the slick routine performed to If I Were Not Upon The Stage – that must have taken some practice. The flying carpet also has to be seen to be believed but no spoilers here.
Altogether a thoroughly entertaining evening and the whole audience would certainly concur. Not to be missed. Best availability is Friday 20th December for the 7pm show.
Runs until 12 January 2020 Image: Contributed