Aladdin ‘lifts the spirit and cheers the heart’
- Credit: Richard Hubert Smith
This show is a triumph. After staging only a few performances last year before yet another lockdown closed the theatres, the Cambridge Arts panto is back with a cast of real class.
This Aladdin is not only slick with a lot of laughs, there is some serious talent on the stage.
It’s hard to name a stand out performance because the characters are all so appealing – but I wanted to cheer instead of boo Rolan Bell’s wicked (but velvet voiced) Uncle Abanazar.
He can clearly do anything and could probably have played all the other roles as well, if you had only asked him. It’s no surprise that one of his other homes is the National.
Matt Crosby’s (superbly costumed) Widow Twankey glides through the show with style and the perfect comic timing we know, love and expect. This is his 16th pantomime at the Arts. He is a consummate Dame.
We have excellence too from Isaac Stanmore as a smooth-as-silk Wishy Washy, Carl Au as Aladdin (the favourite of my fellow reviewer six-year-old Thomas “because he is so clever”) and Jak Allen-Anderson as an hilarious Genie who moved so fluidly you believed he really could fit in the lamp despite his impressive height.
His cameo as the hauty Equerry was good value too. Rachel Lumberg as The Empress brought a Northern matter-of-factness to a performance full of panache.
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The show romps along. The audience yelled its head off almost from the start with tons of participation. The chemistry fizzed.
But there were also some lovely moments with moving songs. Eli aged seven said his favourite was Katy Perry’s song Roar, sang by Aladdin on his way to rescue Princess Poppy.
There was magical singing too from Aiesha Pease, The Spirit of the Ring who sang There Can be Miracles and Megan-Hollie Robertson as Princess Poppy, who holds the title of International Voice of Musical Theatre awarded by Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
They all have beautiful voices. Real gems in a sparkling show. But my absolute favourite song and dance number for sheer fun was There’s No Business Like Show Business with new words to celebrate Twankey’s laundry.
This is a real ensemble show. Wittily written by Al Lockhart-Morley, seamlessly directed by Michael Gattrell, fast-paced (two and a half hours just flew by – like Aladdin on his carpet). Brilliant entertainment for all the family, it lifts the spirit and cheers the heart. It’s a booster.
Aladdin is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Sunday, January 9.