REVIEW: Bristol Hippodrome Aladdin
By Prue_Reid | Thursday, December 13, 2012, 16:40
Aladdin opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week and it is a real Christmas cracker of a pantomime.
The stars of Aladdin
Andy Ford is fantastic as Wishee Washee
Carol McGiffin was at a loose end
From dancing in the streets of Peking to travelling on a magic carpet to Egypt, from the oriental palace gardens to the dark mysterious cave of a thousand jewelled delights this is a show for all the family.
I first saw Aladdin on this very stage more than half a century ago and it has lost none of its magic.
It has all the festive fun ingredients of silly slapstick mixed with daft humour.
It opens with a mildly menacing David Roper as Abanazar pondering how he can get his hands on the Genie of the Lamp played by Carol McGiffin, of Loose Women fame.
Then it switches to the busy Chinese market with policemen and laughs galore.
The orange, red and yellow set was all Chinese glitter with takeaway signposts, large lanterns and unfurling banners as the dancers swirled and whirled.
This is a pretty pantomime and very seasonal.
Street dance sensation Flawless are fabulous as the Peking Police Squad led by Chris Nelson as Major Pong.
All the costumes are colourful and Graham Kent as washerwoman Widow Twankey wearing a Surf detergent packet is hilarious as are some of the 'naughty but nice' asides.
Andy Ford as Wishee Washee waved the flat of his hand over his head as if to reassure parents that the younger ones in the audience won't get the joke.
Good job too as many of the double entendre were in true pantomime tradition a little risqué.
All the principal characters were real stars although Ms McGiffin, the former wife of television presenter Chris Evans, was a little wooden.
My advice is don't give up the day job on Loose Women as she didn't appear to be able to act, sing or dance.
However, the grandchildren thought she was lovely with her bejewelled belly button and said: "But Nanna she could wiggle!"
Not to worry Ms McGiffin gets replaced by Big Brother star Josie Gibson next week.
As usual there were lots of local references including a Portishead pyjama party.
Comedian Eddie Large and his wife Patsy Noble, who live in the North Somerset town, were in the audience on Monday night.
After the show Eddie said: "It was fantastic, it took me back to my childhood."
I loved the Chop Suey singalong with children invited on stage and it all ends happily ever after with the wedding of Chris Thatcher as Aladdin and Zoë George as Princess Jasmine.
Joe Speare is the Genie of the Ring and David Whitworth as the Emperor who lost his stern royal protocol when he dreamed of riches are both great.
The talented children from the Bristol School of Performing Arts join the professional and polished cast to play the citizens of Peking, guards and harem girls.
Perhaps a little too much dialogue in the first half for really young children and at three hours plus it was bums on seats that were also wiggling come the end.
Aladdin is written by Eric Potts, presented by First Family Entertainment and directed by David Siebert.
Aladdin runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until Sunday, January 6.
For more details click HERE.