Review: Aladdin at the Cambridge Arts Theatre - “I laughed so much my ribs started to hurt”

Matt Crosby plays Widow Twankey at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Picture: RICHARD HUBERT SMITH.

Matt Crosby plays Widow Twankey at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Picture: RICHARD HUBERT SMITH. - Credit: Archant

If you want to chase away those Brexit Blues and immerse yourself in some Christmas spirit, get down to the Cambridge Arts Theatre for its seasonal pantomime. Aladdin.

Max Fulham as Wishy Washy

Max Fulham as Wishy Washy - Credit: Archant

Is has to be one of the best the Arts has ever staged. I laughed so much that my ribs began to hurt. The highlight being the hilarious laundry scene with the brilliant Matt Crosby (Widow Twankey) and the equally brilliant Max Fulham (Wishy Washy) during which the audience were laughing so much they were bouncing around in their seats.

Crosby is a seasoned performer and his body language and mannerisms are as funny as the gags. Full marks to the costume designer Sue Simmerling - the dancing queen outfit and Twankey’s hanging basket dress were incredible. Wishy Washy did a great job of getting the younger element of the audience on-side with his side-kick Gordon the Monkey and we even had some Baby Shark thrown in for good measure.

More laughs came from one-liners about Brexit, some well aimed digs at politicians and a sprinkling of jokes about Cambridgeshire place names is always good fun.

Wayne Sleep (Abanazer) played a wonderful dastardly villain and wowed the audience with his tap-dancing routine. Andy Abraham, (the Genie) who finished runner-up in the X-Factor in 2005, has amazing stage presence and his deep, rich voice adds another layer of excellence to an already sparkling performance.

Holly Easterbrook gave a sterling performance as Aladdin and showed us her beautiful voice. I don’t think I have ever been to a panto where I have been so impressed with the standard of singing, Abraham and Rosalind James (Aura, the spirit of the ring) included.

All the behind-the-scenes team have to be congratulated, particularly for the magic carpet ride scene. I don’t know how they did that, but it was jaw-dropping. Al Morley (writer) a long-standing member of the arts team who left earlier this year to pursue a writing career, should be justifiably proud of his work.

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Tickets for Aladdin, which runs until January 6, are available from the box office on: 01223 503333 or online: