First Family Entertainment has introduced the modern concept of work sharing into this year’s Christmas spectacular at the Bristol Hippodrome.
Television’s outspoken Loose Woman Carol McGiffin materialises as the Genie of the Lamp for the first ten days of the run, giving way to Bristol’s own Big Brother winner Josie Gibson to see the show through to January 6. I saw McGiffin in the role on press night, and she was both nervous and surprisingly under-rehearsed, amid an otherwise totally professional cast.
Happily, at a time of constant complaints about fewer bobbies on the beat, it is good to see that in Old Peking the normally low-key police force has been replaced by no fewer than eight effervescent members of Britain’s Got Talent street-dance troupe Flawless, who delight the teenagers as a station-load of Chinese policemen.
The comedy headliner for the fourth consecutive Hippodrome pantomime is bright and breezy laughter-maker Andy Ford, with strong support from Graham Kent’s statuesque Widow Twankey and David Roper’s less evil than usual Abanazar. Production standards remain as high as ever, adding glamour to the romance between Chris Thatcher’s lively Aladdin and Zoe George’s Kate Middleton-like Princess Jasmine.