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Aladdin review at Corn Exchange, Exeter – ‘some ingenious ideas’

Shakespeare had the notion first in The Comedy of Errors – the comic opportunities presented by two sets of estranged siblings separated at birth. Now Exeter Corn Exchange has shamelessly borrowed it, with the same actor playing both Widow Twan-kei and Abanazar in this offbeat reworking of the Arabian Nights fantasy Aladdin.

This results in hectic costume changes, and the use of judicious doubles, for Daniel Page in the dual role, claiming he relies on Abanazar’s “boo-ze” to get him through.

Writer/director Ian Berry adds to his makeover by bringing Matt Finegan’s narcissistic Genie of the Lamp into much greater prominence. Lyn Burgoyne’s moody Soothsayer Sal-ami is another new arrival.

Meanwhile, Christopher Edward’s sprightly Aladdin and Keeley Cooper’s free-spirited Princess Jasmine of necessity play down their usual romance, once they discover they are brother and sister (this is not a traditional Aladdin), while Will Trafford’s Wazoo (the new order Wishee Washee) remains just as fond of a quip or three as his alter ego.

All this is commendably inventive, but a colourless cardboard set, and the use of canned music, drops it several rungs down the pantomime league table.

https://www.thestage.co.uk/pantomime/ [1]

Verdict
Some ingenious ideas undermined by below-par production values in an inventive panto

Production Information

Production
Aladdin
Venue
Corn Exchange
City
Exeter
Starts
December 8, 2018
Ends
January 1, 2019
Authors
Ian Barry
Director
Ian Berry
Musical director
Matt James
Choreographer
Tanya Euridge
Set
Riannon Cheffers-Heard
Lighting
Dominic Jeffery
Sound
Jake Prowse
Stage manager
Daniel Saint (deputy stage manager)
Cast includes
Daniel Page, Matt Finegan, Christopher Edward, Keeley Cooper, Lyn Burgoyne, Will Trafford
Producer
Exeter Corn Exchange
Running time
2hrs 30mins