POOLE’S Lighthouse has a growing reputation for circus arts, so it is no surprise that the homegrown pantomime for 2016/17 starts in a circus, with all its thrills and spills.
But before long the acrobats realise that it is Aladdin they are supposed to be performing, and the audience is whisked off to an old Peking where the wicked wizard Abanazar has arrived to try to con his way into getting the magic lamp that will give him world domination.
The writer and director of this fun-packed version of Aladdin is Peter Duncan, still best known for his time in Blue Peter, but also in Poole as Chief Scout. And he is Abanazar too – and thank goodness for more interesting “name” jokes than the usual “avabanana”!
At one of the schools’ matinees, the auditorium was packed with squealing, screaming and excited children, proving that this show is a sure-fire hit for the younger family members. But it is much more than a kids’ show.
Max Bowden is a handsome and dashing hero, with Sapphire Elia a beautiful Princess XiaoXue with a matching voice. There is no pantomime without a “fat man in a frock” aka the Dame, and they don’t come damlier than Widow Twankey, in the comical form of Adam Price.
Miguel Angel is a revelation as the Genie of the Lamp, taking older members of the audience on a poignant run through David Bowie’s back catalogue in song and dance while granting wishes and generally strutting his stuff.
The familiar and ever popular story is spectacularly told, with inventive new comedy routines, and some amazing special effects that would be spoiled if I told you more.
Go and see for yourself and you’ll believe a boy can fly at Poole, where Aladdin is on stage until 8th January.