Gareth Thomas, former Welsh rugby captain, prolific try scorer and the first professional rugby union player to come out as gay while still playing, dominates the posters for this pantomime. As indeed he dominates the stage whenever his Genie of the Lamp puts in an appearance.
It’s not just his height, his muscles or his tattoos that mean you can’t take your eyes off him. Charisma pours out of him and so does his infectious delight at treading the boards at the Stiwt.
His is a hugely entertaining presence but is only one part of a thoroughly enjoyable show. Howard Ellis is an excellent Abanazar, revelling in villainy and relishing his boos.
Steve Davies is a very good Widow Twankey, equally skilled with a bad pun or with slapstick. Most of the latter, particularly a funny laundry scene, is shared with Paul Quinn’s Wishee Washee, who also has a nice rapport with an, at times, slightly over-enthusiastic audience.
Joel Harper-Jackson and Kayleigh-Ann Strong are very personable as Aladdin and Princess Yasmine. The energetic dancers, with company performers joined by teams of local youngsters, fill the stage with colour and movement.
It’s a very good pantomime but it’s Gareth Thomas who makes it memorable.