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Aladdin review at Brick Lane Music Hall, London – ‘an old-fashioned sense of fun’

The cast of Aladdin at Brick Lane Music Hall, London The cast of Aladdin at Brick Lane Music Hall, London
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While the venue may have long since shifted from Brick Lane to a converted church in Silvertown, the ethos, energy and old-fashioned sense of fun associated with the Brick Lane Music Hall remain exactly the same.

Moving its annual pantomime to this later slot proves the perfect antidote to the February blues and Vincent Hayes’ production has all the warmth and geniality of an old time music hall. The boutique staging may eschew complex special effects but Zara Kattan’s traditional design is comic, colourful and eminently practical.

With women rapidly disappearing from the line-up of great pantomime performers, this production is a reminder of the value of a principal boy – here played with brio by a perky Lucy Reed.

Reed’s Aladdin easily holds her own against veteran comedy actors and seasoned dames while belting out the up-beat musical numbers and generally keeping the action on track.

Hayes’ Wishee Washee is a traditional music hall clown, tweaked discerningly for the 21st century and still hugely popular with the audience. He is matched by Paul James’ lovable, meandering Emperor and Andrew Robley’s ebullient Widow Twankey. Ben Goffe’s multi-talented Genie makes a welcome and refreshing change to the usual attempts to ape Robin Williams’ Disney version – it also chimes with Brick Lane’s sense of individuality.

Paul Vale: Is panto evolving, or is it stuck in the past?

Verdict
The godfather of the boutique panto bursts with colour, comedy and talent
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