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A CurtainUp London Review
The show is the most spectacular pantomime that London has to offer with brilliant sets, extravagant costumes and choreography to die for. I was gob smacked by the entrances of the Genie of the Lamp (Tee Jaye), yellow silk falls from his waist as he ascends in a puff of smoke making him look as ethereal as Scotch mist. The cave of jewels is equally spectacular hung with dark shards of glittering silks with tiny hanging lights and is quite magical. Aladdin's flying carpet raises and seemingly flies off high above the stage. It is very well done. The dance of the Chinese fans has the backdrop of giant blue and white Chinese ginger jars. There are several dance routines worthy of the best of London musicals and Ian McKellen joins in for the dance of the jewels. He treats his fans to the full Dietrich drag although his singing voice is more sexy rasp than melodic. In the second Act his costumes get more and more extravagant and memorable as the designers have had a field day. Hanky (Matt Wolfenden) and Panky (Andrew Spillet) provide the acrobatic and comic interest as they flip in and out of police chases after the dashing Aladdin (Neil McDermott). Frances Barber tackles Dim Sum for the first time and presents a good humoured little chap in a tweed suit. Both Aladdin and the Princess (Kate Gillespie) look ravishing and have truly lovely singing voices. In an interesting update of the principal boy who used to be an attractive tall girl playing the prince, this princess spends much of the pantomime in a short coat and long boots.
The humour is a tad adult for my taste but let's hope the children don't understand the full implications of all that smut. The Old Vic's Aladdin is a thoroughly extravagant, sumptuous and enjoyable night out in the theatre for adults looking to recapture their youth.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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