Another enjoyable family-friendly pantomime for Guildford.
Nigel Havers sends himself up wonderfully as the evil Abanazer, who as well as an obsession with jewels, has delusions of being the “finest thespian of his generation”. Royce Mills (Widow Twankey) and Peter Gordon (Emperor) are now part of the furniture at the Yvonne Arnaud, but still put 110% into their performances.
Emma Thornett (Aladdin) and Faye Brookes (Princess Jasmine) duet beautifully.
Hilary O’Neil, doubling as the Genies of the Lamp and Ring, displays her gift as an impressionist and also has an impressive voice. As Wishee Washee, Lloyd Hollett’s talent for physical comedy is put to devastating effect in a hilarious rewrite of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Jamie Brook (Pongo) takes the custard pies and Peter Dukes (ensemble) also helps make this scene a highlight.
The chorus, all from the Guildford School of Acting, impress with their voices, dancing and exuberance. Director and choreographer Gerry Tebbutt achieves an extraordinary balance of movement and pace throughout. Even the juveniles don’t put a foot wrong. The transformation scene is exquisite, with credit going to set and costume designer Helga Wood. Paul Hendy’s excellent script keeps the adults on their toes, without detracting from the traditional story.