Aladdin at Bath Theatre Royal

Aladdin - Tom Whalley as PC Pong and Jon Monie as Wishee Washee - Photo credit Anna Barclay - (2)WORLD domination is a big theme at the moment, so what more apt panto­mime than Aladdin, whose villain is a  manipulative megalomaniac with global ambitions.

The difference between those on the real international stage and the one at Bath’s Theatre Royal is that Bill Ward’s Abanazar is funny and drop-dead gorgeous.

Spectacle, fun and excitement are what this production is all about and in the hands of Bath favourites Jon Monie and Nick Wilton, with some stars from children’s TV and a group of talented local youngsters, it’s the perfect family show for the holiday season.

Aladdin - Nick Wilton as Widow Twankey and Bill Ward as Abanazar - Photo credit Anna Barclay - (2)Andrew Ryan’s script tells the familiar story and the old favourite routines (how could Bath panto continue without the bench and the ghost?) are augmented by some inventive new scenes, specially the one in the laundry. Nick Wilton’s Widow Twankey, a buxom and boisterous wench, has an eye for the boys and costume changes to equal the Kard­ash­ian record.

The ever loveable and rubber-faced Jon Monie is the ultimate Wishee Washee, and Tom Whalley makes a memorable debut as PC Pong, a copper whose vocal range could shatter glass.

Loula Geater is an impressive Slave of the Ring, belting out her songs with rare power.

Mark Rhodes in the title role and Gemma Naylor as Princess Jasmine make a lovely couple.

But for real appeal, look no further than the devastatingly handsome Bill Ward, a familiar TV baddie and a pantomime natural.

The pretty theatre lends itself to the essential audience participation, and as always the children are filled with glee as dragons and launderers, princesses and flying carpets, genies and heroes dive on and off the stage until the wedding finale.  The running time is just right to suit young families, but there are enough grown-up jokes to satisfy the grouches.

Aladdin continues at Bath until Sunday 8th January.


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