Aladdin at the Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage Review


Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage

28 November 2014 to 25 January 2015

Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell

It is the time of year again for all the merriment of the pantomime. A great chance for all ages of the family to come together and be entertained.

This show without realising it had a huge weight on its’ shoulders, I was taking my 3½  year old son along. This was a true test of entertainment, if they could keep my son, still and me not have to leave the show… I would be happy.

Turns out I was more than happy. My youngest was spellbound from the start. There were times that I looked across at his little face and his mouth was open in awe. My heart melted.

Aladdin stars Shaun Williamson as Abanazaar, the villain of the piece. He is brilliant and who knew that Barry from Eastenders could sing? Not me but he can, he can also play a great comedy villain… cut people in half too! Impressive.

Widow Twankey is as expected a fantastic pantomime dame. Her costumes are AMAZING and as my eldest son said at one point she looks like a Quality Street! What else could we want from Widow Twankey than a great ironic sense of humour with jokes that will go straight over the children’s heads and tickle the adults in the audience! Paul Laidlaw is a season professional at the panto dame and he certainly gave a stunning performance tonight.

Wishee Washee, a hoot! Aladdin’s brother and laundry worker delivers a flawless performance and comedic timing is bang on! For those of you with small children you may well recognise him from children’s television.

Now to my favourite character of the night, and I am sorry to say not the titled character but the Genie of the Lamp. Side-splitting adult based humour and a costume well let’s just say it’s lycra, ladies if you are sitting in the front, keep your eyes upwards! This is played upon with great humour and embarrassment by some audience members.

In fact to be honest this would be a ridiculously long review if I were to write about all the cast members, all very talented. Now this is not taking away from their talents the women are all stunning. Their voices are beautiful and they all play their roles amazingly but the men do steal the show, whether this is down to the script writers giving all the best comedic lines to the men I am not sure, but whatever the reason the ladies have nothing to fear they all are amazing.

The set, the lights, the music, the song choices are second to known. There is a laser light show that blew us away. We sang along to popular songs, shouted he’s behind you and the boys danced in all the right places. The pantomime to me is all about letting go and seeing our 3 little boys having so much fun is such a reward. At one point in the show my eldest was actually belly laughing and the simplistic comedy meant that as well as those more risqué jokes that no 9 year old should get were not the only funny moments in the show.

I do not wish to go into details that would spoil anybodies experience, but there was a completely RANDOM moment in the show, just before the magic carpet scene… a tourist information board promotion video for Stevenage? That’s what it seems like anyway, I found it strange. Look out for the actual magic carpet ride, it is special! Had our kids debating on how they actually did it. Great!

Well to wrap up, the show was fantastic. All of us loved it. Seeing my children so animated is a blessing. Thank you to all the cast, you have definitely started the Christmas cheer early for us! Great song choices, great costumes… just wow from start to finish.

The Gordon Craig is a lovely modern theatre, comfy chairs. The theatre is central to the local amenities and car park right next to it. The staff are lovely and friendly and well turned out. There is a bistro within the theatre as well as the usual bar.

Can honestly say I would wholeheartedly recommend both the show and the theatre.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £15.50

Aladdin is performing at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage until 25 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01438 363200.

Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 1LZ | 01438 363200


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