Visit www.staffordgatehousetheare.co.uk to book tickets. The show is on until 8 January 2017.
Star Rating: ***
Aladdin The Wok ‘n’ Roll Panto by Peter Rowe provided a different take on the traditional with a young cast, all of whom could play instruments and formed their own band on stage.
With music ranging from Tutti Frutti to ABC to Wild Thing to I’m Still Waiting, there were plenty of well selected musical numbers which fitted the theme of each scene and the cast were all talented musicians which was a refreshing take.
The story followed the usual pattern of the missing lamp which Abanazer craves and his ploy to send a young peasant lad (Aladdin) to do the deed for him and the ensuing troubles following the same young tearaway after he is caught looking at and talking to the Princess. Of course there’s a genie into the bargain and Aladdin’s mother in the form of washer woman, Widow Twankey, who has another hapless son in her brood by the name of Wishey Washey.
Michael Hamway was a bright-eyed and spritely Aladdin, Katie Pritchard was full of fun and cheekiness as Cuddles The Monkey, Seren Sandham-Davies was a gentile Princess Lotus Blossom, Steven Simmonds was a very masculine Widow Twankey and Samuel Townsend was quite menacing as Abanazer. The jokes did seem to be aimed at adults for the most part and although the music held the interest of my toddler, he was not particularly engaged with the story, even though he is familiar with it having already seen two other productions of Aladdin this season. Although the cast showed energy and passion, the pace of the show was occasionally too quick and punch lines were lost. It seemed to be packed with toilet humour and some of the more traditional gags would have been welcome.
All of the above having been said, I like the concept of a panto featuring a talented group of all-rounders and there is capacity for this idea to blossom. With a sprinkling of more audience participation and a few more gags for the kids, the potential could be endless. If you’d like to see a fresh new take on this genre of show, give it a try and you’ll be guaranteed a great sing-along to some classic tunes.