Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
Last night (1 December 2017) we went to see Mike Kenny’s delightful adaptation of Aladdin at The Dukes in Lancaster. We love going to their Christmas production as it always gets us in the mood for Christmas and is a lovely start to December. There is something magical about taking children to the theatre at Christmas and my son was very excited about seeing the show.
We have seen a number of previous productions and The Dukes always put their own unique slant on traditional stories; whilst you think you know the tale there is always a twist, making the play all the more enjoyable as you never quite know what to expect. For new artistic director, Sarah Punshon, this was her first Christmas production at The Dukes and we were pleased to discover that Sarah has stuck with this winning formula and in our view come up with the best show yet!
We meet the cast in a busy market place where one of the traders offers to tell us a story, transporting the audience to the home of Aladdin. He and his mother live in poverty and take in laundry from the palace to make ends meet. Aladdin is sent to the market to make some money but meets his evil “Uncle” who offers to make him rich…
Being staged in The Round Theatre, the scenery was very limited but clever use of the lighting and some simple props transported us from cave to palace to Aladdin’s house in the blink of an eye. I’ll not say too much but there’s even a flying carpet! A simple visual effect when the genie is granting wishes adds a touch of magic to the show and worked really well.
The Round is a brilliant venue with the audience so close to the actors it is impossible not to get drawn into the story.
Delme Thomas as the Genie was simply amazing and definitely the star of the show. I have seen various performances of Aladdin over the years and he is certainly the best genie of them all! He added so much humour to the story and kept us all entertained.
Arif Javid playing the wicked uncle together with Helen Longworth as Aladdin’s mum added a touch of experience to the show, they were both brilliantly cast and both demonstrated their great singing voices and talent for comedy. The other two members of the cast, Dora Rubinstein as the princess and Marcquelle Ward as Aladdin had great stage presence with Marcquelle showing off his dance skills and Dora looking every bit a spoilt princess.
Music played a prominent role in the show; the songs were catchy with a good tune and simple, amusing lyrics which fitted well with the story.
The play follows the traditional story quite closely with Aladdin and the Princess both learning that having everything they want is not necessarily the best thing.
At the end of the day the real judges of the show are the children and judging by the faces of the children around us this production was a definite hit.
The show is on until 6th January and with magic, mystery, danger and romance this show has something for everyone, we would definitely recommend a visit over the Christmas period.
The theatre is conveniently situated in Lancaster city centre, it is easy to find with plenty of parking nearby.
Tickets cost from £12 to £21 (booking fees may apply).
Aladdin is at The Dukes in Lancaster from 24 November 2017 to6 January 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.dukes-lancaster.org or call the box office on 01524 598500.
Williamson Park, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 3DZ | 01524 598500