Whilst not having the big budgets of some of the other pantomimes in the region, the production of Aladdin at Harrogate Theatre is just as good and could end up being one of the best pantomimes you will see over the Christmas period.
The classic Aladdin story of good against evil still resonates with audiences young and old alike. The enthusiastic and talented cast of the show really are a joy to watch, with no scene too long to let young minds go wandering.
Aladdin at Harrogate Theatre
Colin Kiyani as Aladdin was charming and believable whilst Christina Harris as Princess So-Shy was youthful and innocent. Making his 22nd Harrogate pantomime appearance, Tim Steadman as Wishee Washee provided comic timing that comes with years of experience. He had the whole audience laughing with his jokes that were never smutty or full of innuendo – a point that other pantomime producers might like to take note of.
The chemistry between Steadman and his mother, Widow Twankey played by Howard Chadwick, was one of the many highlights that made this production of Aladdin work so effortlessly. Look out for the many colourful and extravagant dresses that Widow Twankey wears – let’s just say you will not see them in your local Primark!
Michael Lambourne doubled up as Abbanazar and the Emperor, switching between characters with ease – and his facial expressions made Abbananzar come to life. He extracted many ‘boos’ from the audience even coming down into the auditorium to leash his menace.
Being a big ABBA fan even the spelling of his name made reference to the Swedish group – which gave him many opportunities to use ABBA song titles at any given point. So of course, he wanted the famous lamp with the genie that would give him “Money, Money, Money”!
Just about perfect
Ebony Feare also doubled up playing two roles. Cheeky and friendly when playing the genie this contrasted well with the authoritative police officer DCI Kate. When playing Genie, it felt like it was your best buddy up there on stage.
Add to this plenty of local references such as Betty’s and their famous Fat Rascal cakes, topical jokes including references to Matt Hancock and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, recent pop hits, four dancers who never put a foot wrong and enough special effects to make you think “how did they do that?” along with a brilliant cast, and you have a pantomime that was just perfect.
Credit also to co-writers David Bown and the late Phil Lowe who kept the jokes original and funny – even if you’re a seasoned pantomime goer you will not have heard the majority of these funny lines before, which will appeal to all members of the audience.
If you need a pick me up away from all the doom and gloom in the news at the moment, the Harrogate Theatre production of Aladdin will take you away from it all … well, at least for two hours. Will you enjoy it? Oh yes, you will!!
This was a pantomime I could watch many times … it has set a benchmark for others to follow. Brilliant!
Runs until Sunday 15 January 2023 www.Harrogatetheatre.co.uk