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Aladdin review at the Riverfront, Newport – ‘refreshingly inclusive’

Aisha Numah, Liam Tobin and Richard Elis Aladdin at the Riverfront, Newport Aisha Numah, Liam Tobin and Richard Elis Aladdin at the Riverfront, Newport
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The Riverfront’s pantomime makes for an enjoyable but somewhat bumpy magic carpet ride. The venue’s first panto co-production is pleasingly inclusive. Liam Tobin’s Dame is lively, while avoiding the innuendo that is often a part of the role.

A lack of chemistry between Nickcolia King-N’Da (Aladdin) and Jazmin Hudson-Owen (Princess Jasmine) dampens the central love story, but they’re carried along by an otherwise superb ensemble cast. While some of the performances are appropriately hammy, this is balanced by a turn performance from Aisha Numah. Among the scripted chaos and unscripted technical hiccups, her Wishee Washee brings warmth and charm to proceedings.

While Zach Flis’ musical direction is excellent, especially in his interactions with Tobin, the set design is flimsy. Chris Illingsworth’s lighting can only mask so much, and mechanism used for the magic flying carpet is not masked well at all.

It comes down to resources and while the Riverfront’s Aladdin may not be able to compete with larger neighbouring theatres, it makes up for it with a show that is entertaining and diverse.

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Verdict
Refreshingly inclusive pantomime that transcends its budgetary limitations
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