PantSoc’s Aladdin gets off to a great start with only a few minor bumps in what was a thoroughly enjoyable opening night.
When you think of pantomimes what generally comes to mind is Christmas, school trips and lots of shouting. You don’t usually imagine university students strutting around on stage, belting their hearts out in brightly coloured costumes. Well PantSoc is here to change your preconceptions with their latest offering Aladdin!
Just like with last year’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, PantSoc takes a well known and loved Disney film and just twists it that little bit to give the audience a wonderful night of light-hearted entertainment. The re-tooling of the songs alone is a feat to be admired, with stand out moments coming from the “That Don’t Impress Me Much” numbers and an energising rendition of “Witch Doctor” which had me singing along under my breath. Oh ee oh ah ah… it’s just too infectious! The effort that has been put in by all evolved is clear to see with the cast giving each song all they can and throwing themselves into Kosi Carter’s choreography routines.
Joel Bates and Stephen Hutt provided a script that drew many laughs from the crowd during the night, though unfortunately not every joke met its mark with the ‘zing’ that you would wish. These moments could not overshadow some fabulous moments of writing, I mean where else but a PantSoc panto would you get to see our esteemed Prime Minister, played by Euan Brook, pulling off sequined hot pants? Harry Ward and Hannah Forsyth led the cast well as our diamond-in-the-rough Aladdin and feminist Jasmine, and Alice Tones sparkled as the Genie. Unfortunately the villain Abanazar was not as well written as in previous PantSoc productions but Aneruin Christophers-Robbins certainly gave his all to the role.
However it was the truly comic characters that stole the show. Josh Turner as the Emperor and James Gamblin as Aladdin’s mother Twankey were hilarious with witty lines, great physical humour and tone, and putting the two on stage together resulted in some golden moments. While Jack Tindle as the seemingly immortal Iago and Gabriel Elston as Aladdin’s washing obsessed brother, Wishee Washee, were a joy every time they were on stage.
As with any opening night there were a few issues, with some lines hard to hear and a few mic cues not quite quick enough. However the cast ensured that any blips did nothing to disrupt the flow of the performance and these are sure to be smoothed out as the show continues its run.
Aladdin is a great night of music, dancing and laughter and all the hard work of the cast and crew is clear to see. Should you check it out? Oh yes you should!