Aladdin review at Theatre Royal St Helens
With the glossier, more star-studded seasonal offerings to be found around the north west, the Theatre Royal’s pantomime risks looking more than a little Vauxhall Conference League in comparison. But then panto is about more than just big names and deep pockets. Sadly, in places this production feels as raggedy and careworn as its scenery.
But it is not without its rough-and-ready charms, personified by Nick Cochrane – better known as Corrie’s permanently missing McDonald brother Andy – whose cheeky chappy Aladdin is more matey comic relief than dashing hero. But the show belongs to illusionist Richard De Vere’s lugubrious Abanazer. De Vere knows how to hold an audience and spends most of his stage time either stealing the show or threatening to derail it completely by cracking up his co-stars. Some of this fun translates to the audience, but much of it is hampered by a variable hit rate of gags – further marred by an unwelcome vein of homophobia. The plot of Aladdin – never the best of fit for panto – also gets muddled along the way, while an overreliance on backing tracks and recorded vocals diminishes its impact as a live spectacle.
Theatre Royal, St Helens, December 2-January 8
- Regal Entertainments Ltd, Richard De Vere
- Chantelle Nolan, Richard De Vere
- Regal Entertainments Ltd
- Cast includes
- Richard De Vere, Nick Cochrane, Si Foster, Leah Murphy, Eloise Tasker, Claire Simonsen
- Running time
- 2hrs 30mins
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