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Aladdin review at Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells – ‘funny and fresh’

Quinn Patrick in Aladdin at Tunbridge Wells. Photo: David Bartholomew
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John-Jackson Almond, the new director of the Assembly Hall Theatre, has clearly got the measure of what works in Tunbridge Wells.

While far from perfect, this Aladdin is clean, fresh, classy, funny and includes several notable performances. Jess Robinson is a show stealer as the Genie of the Ring. A classically trained singer and accomplished mimic she grafts in bits of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Shirley Bassey and many more and plays the genie role with oodles of attitude. It’s a bravura performance.

Michael Greco, who is presaged by an Eastenders leitmotiv at every entry, is fun as the fruity-voiced (and “disturbingly attractive” as Quinn Patrick’s Widow Twankey puts it) Abanazar.

Tom Whalley is strong as PC Pong and Chris Pizzey’s Wishee Washee has a nice running gag with a water pistol disguised as a dragon.

New innuendo-free jokes make a refreshing change. The slosh and ghost scenes end before they get tedious.

The vocals are variable with the exception of Robinson and Mark Rhodes who sings and dances so well that you can see why Alexandra Robinson’s Princess Jasmine might fall for him. The rest of the choreography is less exciting and mostly uninspired

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A funny, traditional show with a couple of standout performances