Aladdin review at the Capitol, Horsham – ‘lively and well-sung’
It’s a balancing act, creating a pantomime that is both traditional and fresh, but this fine Aladdin achieves it. The Chinese dragon and lights coming in from the auditorium to introduce Peking and the air crew ensemble number before the flying carpet scene, are both successfully-executed as well as unexpected. It’s also refreshing to be spared a slosh routine and a 3D special effects sequence.
The cast are a talented, well-directed bunch. Tall, lithe Ben Ofoedo as the Genie almost steals the show with his colossal stage presence and sardonic asides in different voices. Olly Pike – boyish and half Ofoedo’s size is a well-cast Aladdin, there’s a nice comic contrast between the two. Like nearly everyone else in this production he’s a powerful singer especially in lyrical numbers in harmony. Alice Ellen Wright’s belting voice as Princess Jasmine also impresses and Dani Acors does solid work as the silly, phone-obsessed Fairy of the Ring. Other strong performances include Michael Goble as a feisty Wishee Washee, James Dinsmore as an impeccably enunciated Abanazar and Martin Ramsdin as an eye-lash fluttering Widow Twankey.
Nick Mowat’s production is entertaining, often very funny and exploits the talents of every cast member. Almost all the jokes are aimed firmly at a family audience. Spontaneous laughter from under 10s is one of the best gauges of pantomime quality and there’s plenty of it here.