Creation’s Christmas productions tend to eschew the pantomimic for the eccentric and enchanted, and this Aladdin, penned by Lizzie Hopley, is no exception. At times its whimsicality flounders a little, but it is always entertaining.
It revels in the darker elements. The Lamp Ginnee (Nicholas Osmond) is a grey, taciturn figure, a million miles away from the Buddha-like spirit of cliche, while the Sorcerer (Timothy Allsop) mines a rich seam of villainy, with a swish of silk and an eye continually hungry for the sparklier things. Similarly, James Yeoburn’s Aladdin is a more tortured character than usual, a Hamlet-esque young man filled with existential doubts and sudden changes of mood. This Shakespearean undertone is consistent throughout, from the ritual freeing of the Ariel-like Ring Jinnee (Anna O’Loughlin) to the Sorcerer’s eventual fate, doomed to be a clowning jester for the rest of his days; Charlotte Conquest’s experience of directing the Bard undoubtedly shows itself here.
Still, there are plenty of lighter moments to be had - a wonderfully daft scene in which chocolate biscuits fall out of the sky, and some impressive acrobatics from O’Loughlin - and there are enough laughs to keep all ages happy.