Wales Community Theatre Players’ Aladdin – 14th January 2023, Montgomery Theatre

Review by Claire Taranaski (and three year old Heidi).

Our first review of 2023 is also my first panto review in four years and most importantly my three year old daughter Heidi’s first panto.

I’ll admit we were nervous about how Heidi would react but she declared it “amazing” and although a lot went over her head she loved it, finding the slapstick comedy hilarious, trying to move my arm around to match the choreography on stage, being brave enough to get on stage with me standing cautiously at the bottom of the stairs (thank you Dan Schofield who played Wishee Washee for being so good with her) and also got her photo taken with Lucy Hayes who played Aladdin and Holly Riley who played Princess So-Shy after the show.

I struggled to fault the show with its wonderful script, choreography, singing, music, comedy and performances throughout with a personal hilarious highlight being the “12 days of” routine, and not just for my husband getting squirted in the face and Scarlett Buxton as The Slave Of The Ring regularly hitting Aladdin in the face with the rubber band. On the subject of Scarlett in show of wonderful musical voices her superb solo performance would not have been out of place on a West End stage.

A panto can have all the essential panto ingredients, and this production had that 100%, but it also confirmed that a show isn’t anything without on stage chemistry and the clear chemistry and friendship between all the show’s couples was perfect, whether it was Aladdin and Princess So-Shy; Eve Rowes and Sophie Antcliff as police officers Fu and Kung (hope you survived the laundry and who thank you for your superb comic timing that Heidi especially loved); Toni Cook as Peekaboo and Alison Wade as Peko; Karen Wilkins as The Empress and Lynne Schofield as Kahazi; and not forgetting Wishee Washee and Tom Ingall as Widow Twankey (sorry Tom you kept making me think of Jo Brand but in a good way).

However the stand-out performance, outside of these wonderful duets, was Joseph Bairstow as the Gene, who if I hadn’t known I would have been convinced was Marc Warren starring in a David Bowie 1970s biopic. Joseph’s performance will stay with me for a long time and I couldn’t take my eyes or ears off him every time he was on stage.

Last but not least we need to “boo” the baddies, Will Marshall as Abanazar who we bet is a really softie off stage, James Moore who had not one but three roles but whose yeti especially was silent but hilarious, and Rhys Jordan who I will avoid if he ever comes near me with an axe, with all three being everything you would want from a panto baddie.

The tagline for this panto is “a genie-ous family pantomime” and that’s exactly what it was. We couldn’t have hoped for a better family friendly show and a better first one for our daughter and are already planning to bring Heidi back this time next year.

2 thoughts on “Wales Community Theatre Players’ Aladdin – 14th January 2023, Montgomery Theatre

  1. Thanks very much Claire – and a special hello to Heidi. We’re very honoured this was your first pantomime and hope the memories last a lifetime!
    Yours in laundry
    Widow Twankey

  2. Wow! Thank you and Heidi for a wonderful review. As several members of my family are panto ‘regulars’ I always love to watch them and maybe I’m biased but I agree with all you say. They are a very talented group and work very hard for weeks in advance. The people in the background are irreplaceable too. Making props, costumes, publicity and all those unseen roles. May they continue to produce a wonderfully warm and family orientated show!

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