Review Aladdin Nottingham Playhouse 2016….
He’s back! Kenneth Alan Taylor returns to host his 26th consecutive pantomime at the Nottingham Playhouse with Aladdin.
I first visited the panto at the Playhouse over 30 years ago…
Renowned for glorious costumes and traditional panto gags, this show does not fail to offer 2.5 hours of authentic, traditional, familiar and old-school entertainment.
Driven by the glorious and undeniably effortless John Elkington as Twankey, this show at its best is thrilling.
The Honey G, train & ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ scenes were inspired and prove that Panto can be as just as hysterical and/or relevant in 2016 as it was when it was first staged in 1788.
Sadly outside of the above, this show felt a little outdated, tired and ‘script heavy’. There’s little or no schtick or variety which was a disappointing & surprising.
With only one current chart hit, rushed references to Frozen and ‘Pen & Pineapple’ + 2 topical gags – this could have easily have been staged in 1990 when Taylor first arrived.
That said, it was a totally sold out today. Aside from the script, the costumes were excellent and the show is naturally incredibly polished.
A overall disappointing 3.5* for Aladdin.
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Act two started with ‘Fly me to the moon’. 90%+ of the audience weren’t even born when that was a hit in the 50’s. The rest of the show was driven by what felt like ‘old’ music opposed to classic hits.
A great shame as music for me sets the tone & drives the entire show.
When one of the children was asked “what’s your favourite bit?”, he replied “Frozen” – this was a 10 second nod to the hugely popular film (a cappella) 60 minutes earlier – somewhat proving my point.
The full 4 minute version of ‘Impossible Dream’, although beautifully sung with perfect 5 part harmonies, went unnoticed depsite closing the first half.
Nevertheless the cast were hugely enthusiastic with nods to the vocally perfect Nathan Elwick as Wishy & Kevin McGowan as the perfect menacing but charasmatic Abanazar.
Topicality, interactivity, big dance numbers & ‘production bits’ are what the audience (and especially children) love the most in panto in 2016. These bits were few and far between at the Playhouse leading me to find this show slightly lazy.
‘It’s behind you’ and ‘oh yes they can’ were nowhere to be seen. Bizarre!
This feels more like a true telling of Aladdin than a modern interactive gag-packed panto captivating and entertaining multi-media aware audiences.
With such stiff competition for entertainment, I fear this show will have to try harder moving forward. But, I do love the venue, heritage and dedication of the cast.
Review by Alex Belfield 26th November 2016 for Celebrity Radio.