Wishee Washee it Wasn’t!
Mercury Theatre, Colchester
until 10th January’16
Poems, pop songs and audience participation aplenty await all-comers to this entertaining pantomime.
With its usual allusion to modern-day references, the Spirit of the Ring has lost her internet connection, much to the frustration of the evil Abanazar, maliciously played by Ignatius Anthony. His early entrance invites us to all boo and hiss in traditional pantomime fashion.
Musically, there are clever re-workings of T’Pau’s “China in Your Hand” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” supported by the well-rehearsed Junior Chorus as washer folk. A version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Three Little Maids from School” is a surprising inclusion.
Aladdin’s antics as a “Granny Smith grabber” have landed him in hot water with the Peking Police and Princess Jasmine’s father. Will he survive to gain the Emperor’s approval and win her hand in marriage? Will the flying carpet rescue him in time to thwart Abanazar’s wicked ways?
There is nothing like a dame and this one, in the guise of Widow Twanky (Antony Stuart-Hicks), is simply outstanding. In a style and voice reminiscent of Lily Savage, no-one in the audience is safe from her acid tongue and hilarious improvisation. The slapstick scene was a particular highlight of the night.
Delighted children were dancing in the aisles to this production and even singled out by Wishee Washee for attention. They will also enjoy the pantomime’s programme with its educational features on the history of Aladdin and fun activities.
Aladdin is a spectacular certain to appeal to all ages with its colourful costumes, mix of music old and new and differing levels of humour.