Tip Top Productions’ Aladdin proves you don’t need a lavish budget or star names to stage a successful Christmas show. Promising “magic, mystery, song, dance, swirling smoke – and a fat man in a frock”, the show delivers solid seasonal entertainment in the Forum Studio’s modest theatre space.
Ashley Sollars plays the titular hero, and possibly Christmas’s cockiest Aladdin, and his strong vocals lead the likeable cast through a series of impressively punchy song-and-dance routines, crisply choreographed by Rhian Lyon. Both the big production numbers and smooth scene changes make good use of the confines of the stage.
Veteran writer Peter Swingler packs the script with traditional panto tropes and trimmings, and while the cast don’t always succeed in taking the adults with them, with the various double entrendres mostly falling on silent, stony ground, the young audience is certainly invested in the action – so invested, in fact, that Ethan Holmes’ enjoyably wild-eyed, moustache-twirling Abanazar sparks a sustained cacophony of crying from the tiniest theatregoers.
The show comes to a natural conclusion with a rousing Greatest Showman-infused number, which makes a subsequent audience participation segment and the obligatory panto wedding something of an anticlimax.