Aladdin review at Millenium Forum, Londonderry –’excitement and razzle dazzle’

Scene from Aladdin at the Millennium Forum, Londonderry
Scene from Aladdin at the Millennium Forum, Londonderry

In adapting Aladdin for the Millennium Forum stage, writer and producer David McLaughlin has clearly given his cast and crew the brief to cut loose and innovate. The result, despite a slow start and mildly abrupt finale, is a joyous concoction of colour, laughs, excitement and razzle dazzle (literally so in the use of a certain song from "Chicago") where almost every actor gets their chance to steal a scene, raise a chuckle or entertain.

The general power of the production goes beyond magic carpets, spot effects and pop songs (although all three are present), truly coming through in the admirable sharpness and homely wit. This is exhibited by the central performers around Helga Wood's appealingly minimalist scenery and vibrant costumes.

Neither Mikey-Jay Heath's title character nor Catriona McFeely's princess overstretch themselves during their duets. Their low-key chemistry, and Heath's amiable heroics, form a pleasant backdrop to numerous misadventures featuring Keith Lynch's hammily theatrical villain, Ruairi McSorley's distinctly humorous genie voice, Johanna Johnston's lithe, likable Slave Of The Ring, and, above all, a commanding showing from William Caulfield in his tenth year as the Forum's panto dame. He exuberantly leads the way in extremely amusing re-workings of the Proclaimers' 500 Miles and The Twelve Days of Christmas, the latter inspiring a memorable singalong in the audience.

Entertaining panto thoroughly appreciated for its innovation, likability, humour and warmth.