Reviewed by Louise Watts
There is only one place at Christmas where you can experience dodgy jokes, famous people, silly songs and audience participation. This place is of course a pantomime! Christmas would not be Christmas without a visit to a good old panto. This evening, myself, my husband and our 4-year-old son visited the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, Kent to see Aladdin. The thing I love most about panto is you can see as many Aladdin panto’s as you like all over the country, but they will all be different due to the cast appropriate jokes and the classic ad lib moments, which believe me there were several of tonight!!
From the minute the show opened it was clear that this version of Aladdin was taking panto to the next level. The basic story of Aladdin was told as you would expect, but the baddie, aka Abanazar played by Marti Pellow, was out of this world. I wasn’t sure it would work when I discovered he was playing the nasty character and could not imagine this nice man with a gentle Scottish accent playing such a panto nasty. He did not disappoint and took the whole nasty character to another realm and carried it off perfectly. It was clear that he has not lost any of his singing ability as his voice was as lovely to listen to now as it was in the 1990’s!!
To balance the naughty character, you have to have a comedy duo, tonight this came in the form of Wishee Washee (Ricky K) and Widow Twankey (David Robbins). They were hilarious and my full respect to the costume designer and seamstress who designed and made Widow Twankeys’ wardrobe for this evening… true pantomime genius!
If I was going to offer an award for the most impressive singer tonight it would without a doubt go to Landi Oshinowo who had the most powerful voice I have heard in a while. I would definitely like to hear more of it in the future.
The set was incredible and in the second half, we were invited to experience a whole new world in pantomime! It was absolutely brilliant. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would experience the magic carpet ride for myself. Pantomime may be traditional in some aspects, but it was clear tonight that it is adapting to incorporate new technology and creative ideas.
This pantomime is marketed as being “Everything you could wish for in a panto”. I would take that a step further and say it has everything you could wish for in a panto and some! An absolutely outstanding performance by all and it has reminded me exactly why I come with my kids to see a pantomime every year.
The Orchard Theatre is always a lovely venue where you are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome. The staff are friendly and nothing is too much trouble. There are a variety of options available on site in relation to food and drink and parking is easy with an assortment of car parks nearby ranging in price from free to a few £’s. I always use the Orchard Centre car park opposite the theatre because you are guaranteed a space and at the bargain price of £3 for the evening, you cannot go wrong!
Tickets cost from £18 to £37 (booking fees may apply).
Aladdin is at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford from 8-30 December 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01322 220000.
The Orchard Theatre, Home Gardens, Dartford, DA1 1ED | 01322 220000