Panto is back and it is the best by far!

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Aladdin at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is the best panto I have seen……………

Saturday night saw the opening of Aladdin, the pantomime, at The Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, and what a night it was! Written by Andrew Pollard with original music and lyrics by Tom Self this panto was the best that I have seen for years, combining all the traditional elements of panto with a modern twist.
All the ingredients are here, the dame, the villain, a beautiful princess with  her strict mother, our hero Aladdin, and of course not forgetting the genie!

Set in Hornchurchopolis it opens with the villain of the piece Bjorn Nastee finding a magic ring, he calls on the power of the ring to find out how he can get wealth only to be told he is too nasty! Of course true to form Bjorn Nastee is booed and hissed throughout the show and seems to relish this!

From here on we meet Aladdin, the washer boy who dreams of becoming a singer,and the Sultana of Hornchurchopolis who complains about her washing and the insolence of Aladdin to the constabulary. The slapstick chases are brilliant with great off stage noises. At this point enter the Dame, Betty Bagwash on her tricycle to great applause, Betty gets the audience on board with her tales of woe and having to raise a dreamer of a son and asks the audience for help, which of course we do!

Sultana arrives to complain about her washing and is told all will be put right when the new automated laundry is open; and maybe she would do the honour of opening it? 

Princess Jasmine, the Sultana’s daughter meanwhile, has escaped the clutches of her mother and the Castle and is masquerading as a street musician when she meets Aladdin, who tells of his dreams of having adventures as a singer to which she agrees to meet him later to run away so they can have fun.

Bjorn Nastee meanwhile finds Aladdin and tells him he is his long lost uncle and he needs to come away with him to find the caves of gold and the magic lamp. Aladdin is bewitched by this and goes home to tell his mother, Bjorn arrives and dupes Betty, but she tells Aladdin he can’t go until after the grand opening of the new Automated Laundry, The Sultana arrives and of course everything that could go wrong does go wrong!! 

Aladdin sees Princess Jasmine and tells her he is off with his uncle in search of gold and promises he will be back with the riches and she must wait for him.From here we are transported to the cave wherein lies the magicg lamp which will give Bjorn Nastee the power to rule the world. At this point I will leave it as I really urge you to go and see this wonderful show which radiates happiness.

It is quite amazing that a small cast of eight can create such a warmth and depth of fun and frolics, the timing, the singing and the seemless transition of musicality were fantastic. Credit must be given to all the cast,with the Dame, played by Alex Wadham leading the way. Bjorn Nastee played by Dominic Gee-Burch had all the panto villain hallmarks. Miiya Alexander as Princess Jasmine managed to capture grace and charm and Aaron Teoh as Aladdin was a joy to behold. Lucy Keirl as the genie was an inspiration bringing something new to the role and Stacey Ghent as Sultana was perfect,

Credit goes to the whole cast, the director Douglas Rintoul, the scenic designers, the lighting department and the wardrobe people for putting on for me, what has been one of the best pantomimes for years. After all these wretched lockdowns, this show is the perfect cure. 

If you only get the opportunity to watch one panto this year, then this is the one, a must for all. Five star and plus rating!

Photo Credit to Mark Sepple.

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