Aladdin at The Harlequin Theatre in Redhill - review
PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:01 21 December 2015
After last year’s surprisingly entertaining and funny Beauty and the Beast, once again we find ourselves in panto season. Cue familiar jokes, characters and stories that it wouldn’t quite be Christmas without.
So let’s find out whether The Harlequin in Redhill’s offering of Aladdin this year provides the right ‘steps’ for Christmas family entertainment or whether it’s just a tragedy?
Starring Lee Latchford-Evans of Steps as the main character, Aladdin, alongside Princess Jasmine, Janine Pardro, it certainly has the attraction for those parents of a certain age, as well as the kids, with its mix of music (yes, there is Steps music in it!), dance, jokes and audience interaction.
What was most pleasing to see is that this was all supported once again by Harlequin panto veteran of four years Neil Wheatley as Wishy-washy and Simon Bashford playing Widow Twanky, who could both singlehandedly run the show with their hilarious mix of jokes, audience interaction and pure enthusiasm.
While this year the performances of the leads, aside from Neil Wheatley and Simon Bashford, didn’t quite match last year’s highs, with the music and dance routines being less memorable, the inclusion of the Steps ‘classics’ and associated audience dance routines will go some way to determining how much you will enjoy the experience.
However, all in all, it comes down to whether this is a good family Christmas night out and there is no doubt it is, with plenty of laughs that meant my two boys thoroughly enjoyed it. So if it ticks those boxes with my boys then it’s done exactly what a panto should and in the right tradition. So I leave you with the best critics to judge, Archie (age 7) and Cailen (age 10), with their view of Aladdin: “Very funny and brilliant!” Enough said!
Aladdin, The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, runs until Sunday January 3. Tickets from £19 for adults; £16.50 for children. Box office: 01737 276500/harlequintheatre.co.uk