Aladdin - People’s Theatre, Newcastle - 13th December 2017
Now having gone to see Jack and the Beanstalk last year at the same theatre and not being overly impressed, I was hoping for a better experience with Aladdin.
I will always think of Robin William’s portrayal of Genie in the Disney version and ‘A Whole New World’ but this is panto and I admit I’m a pantophobe but I decided to come and see if this was any good.
Let’s start with the positives; Leon Gill (the guy’s an absolute legend) played Genie, He doesn’t have too much to do in the show but he is great and his singing is excellent. The other great singer that I went “wow” to is the princess, played by Madeline Carter. I have never seen her perform before but I do think that musical theatre is what she should go into.
The Princess is aptly named for this panto written by a Geordie - Philip Meeks - and performed in a Heaton theatre, and who could that be? Why Cheryl, of course!
Wishee Washee is played by Joe Robson - I think he’s found a role that suits him well - alongside the beautiful Widow Twanky, played by Steve Robertson. I think these two are great comedians and their comedic talent balances out their singing!
PC Tickle and PC Slap were played Nathan Hussain and Emma Cockburn. I would have liked to hear and see more of them as I couldn’t really see what the point of them is, and so I wasn’t really invested in their characters.
Empress Ezmeanie played Sara Jo Harrison. She plays an evil person well (she must have needed lots of acting lessons as I’ve heard she’s actually really nice). Her on stage husband Emperor Jor-di who really only came to life in the 2nd half of the show has a great voice, and when Steve and Stephen sing a duet it is the latter who carries the song.
The real baddy in the story is Abanazar. Paul Gaitskell is absolutely fantastic. He plays to the crowd and his comedy timing is just on point. He is great even though sometimes the techie guys let him down, (more on that soon).
In the scene where they sing a song and someone disappears each time, the Mummy was played briefly by James Lane.
Have I missed anyone out?? Oh Yes I have!
The lead was played by Laurence Hussain and unfortunately I’m not 100% sure that he is one, in most of his songs he is overshadowed by more accomplished singers.
There is a large ensemble made up of many different people from the Chorus, Tap Dancers, Dancers from Newcastle High School and lots of little people who all did well.
The Lighting was amazing especially the final scene of the first act which you need to go and see for yourself. Designed by Scott Sweeting and crewed by Martin Collins, Dave Harvey and Amy Hardman.
The Choreography was fantastic and praise needs to go to Julie Bowman, Jill Taylor and Ruth Gibson and Joe Butcher for this.
But - here goes nothing!! As someone who is hard of hearing and a sound engineer, I have to say at times it sounded terrible. As last year, the music is played through a computer and it would be so much better live!
Directed by Emma Jane Richards and Assisted by Craig Fairbairn.
The production is okay. Some things are amazing but there are some parts of it that let it down so much unfortunately, hopefully they will get better.
On until 17th of December 2017.