Review: Aladdin at Middleton Arena
Reporter: Laura Wild
Date online: 03 December 2011
The panto is packed full of everything a panto should be, from the infamous “it’s behind you” and audience participation to beautiful sparkly costumes, a great set and lots of Rochdale and Middleton references to make the locals laugh.
The tale of Aladdin is one that most are familiar with but this show was given a taste of 2011 with gags about the X Factor and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here as well as a taste of pop music that the audience were familiar with, including Jessie J, The Pussy Cat Dolls and Westlife.
The story follows Aladdin’s journey of falling in love and wanting to marry Princess Yasmine and whilst the Princess loves him too, her father, Sultan, wants her to marry a rich man.
With the help of the Slave of the Ring and the Genie of the Lamp, Aladdin becomes rich beyond his wildest dreams, but before long it is torn from under his feet by his pretend long lost uncle Abanazar, who is set on ruling the world. Despite trials and tribulations Aladdin finally gets his girl and – just before an audience sing-a-long - they go on to live happy ever after.
Notable performances include Roger Kitter who played Widow Twankey and kept both the children and the adults laughing throughout at his hilarious on stage antics and fabulous outfits.
Another cast member to note was the leading man, Aladdin, played by Michael Absalom. As a former children’s TV presenter the children in the crowd certainly warmed to Absalom and, although his singing wasn’t the best, his cheeky grin throughout won the hearts of the audience.
Former Brookside star Louis Emerick delivered the role of The Genie of the Lamp delightfully and his Liverpudlian counterpart Suzanne Collins was equally good as the Slave of the Ring.
The cast also included the panto’s writers, Casey-Lee Jolley - probably best known for her role as Orchid in Coronation Street - as Princess Yasmine and Richard Ashton, who has worked in theatre, film and TV across the world, as Abanazar.
Jolley’s portrayal of Yasmine is one the audience falls in love with and she certainly managed to pull off the songs throughout the performance, and Ashton, aka Abanazar, was the one the audience certainly enjoyed to boo at!
Special mention must go to the dancers in the show who performed exceptionally and gave the panto a real extra quality.
Aladdin runs at the Middleton Arena until 31 December and really is a must see this Christmas.
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