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Aladdin review at Forum Billingham

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Likening Abanazar to the ‘missing canoeist’ went down so well in this theatre only miles from Seaton Carew that, if not in the original script, it surely will be for the rest of the run. It came from quick-witted dame Duggie Brown as Widow Twankey, bouncing jokes off stentorian and stern-faced Jonathan Owen in the villain role, making him stifle a laugh, so one suspected it was off-the-cuff.

With comedian Stu Francis indulging in daftness as Wishee Washee, and slick double act Goodie and Nick, as Ping and Pong, giggles and guffaws are assured. Then comes the delight of eight performing budgerigars.

Leaving off his serious headgear as Emperor, Norman Barrett offers the first of no fewer than four speciality acts, with his highly-trained budgies doing tricks on miniature props. Michael White combines the role of Genie with magic, including a logic-defying disappearing lady act. After the interval, gravity-defying foot juggler Jan Navratil impresses, getting a ball up a towering pole, and contortionist Khulan Svabodova twists herself into nature-defying poses.

These circus acts are extra treats in a traditional show abounding in good-natured comedy, plus the good pairing of talented singers Matthew James Turnbull as Aladdin and Anna Tyrie as Princess Balroubadour.

Production Information

Forum, Billingham, December 8-January 6

Jonathan Owen
Duggie Chapman Associates
Cast includes
Stu Francis, Matthew James Turnbull, Jonathan Owen, Duggie Brown, Anna Tyrie, Goodie and Nick, Michael White, Norman Barrett
Running time
2hrs 50mins
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