Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Panto season again: Aladdin @NewWimbTheatre

It is panto season again and the first pantomime, Aladdin at the New Wimbledon theatre was the same production I saw last year in Richmond. It still looks great with some incredible costumes and set pieces and makes for a great (if a tad overlong) family night out.

I thought last year's production needed songs from this century and better jokes. Well this time around the songs this are more recent (such as Daft Punk's ear worm Get Lucky) and the street dance troupe Flawless, as the Peking Police Force adds some variety to the proceedings. With Matthew Kelly's very amusing turn as the pantomime dame Widow Twanky, comedian Jo Brand and some genuine west end stars with Oliver Thornton and David Bedella it is like a chocolate box of random assorted entertainment, there is bound to be something to please everyone.


This version of the Aladdin follows a fairly traditional storyline. Aladdin works in his mothers laundry, meets a princess and after stumbling across the lamp with a genie, is granted riches that allows him to marry her. Well he would have married her if that evil Abanazar didn't get in the way.

The loose plot is an opportunity to show off some great costumes, sing a few songs, tell some gags and thrown in a bit of street dance. It seemed as if Jo Brand has not been given enough time to tell some of her gags, which is a shame as it would make the evening more interesting and give the adults in the audience something to snicker about while the children are all in awe. The various comic, musical and dance acts also mean that things do drag into the third hour as well which might test the patience of some of the younger members of the audience.

Still a panto at Wimbledon is always worth catching and it looks great, it feels funnier and more modern and it runs through the holiday season.