In Hull New Theatre’s version of Aladdin, dancer and actor Jake Canuso rarely stands still. Sporting “magical cha-cha heels” he shows off his skills with the tango, ballet, tap and even – briefly – the can-can.
Introducing himself as “Benny Dorm” in a nod to his appearances on the ITV comedy series, his Spirit of the Dance is one of the pleasures of this slick, high-energy Qdos Entertainment pantomime.
It doesn’t have the lavish, 3D sequences of previous years, although the flying magic-carpet sequence and the towering genie puppet are impressive.
What it does have is an array of strong comic performances. Robin Askwith is a brilliant baddie as Abanazar, with his flicking reptilian tongue and soaring voice, he appears to be channelling the spirit of a Victorian ham actor. His comic interplay with the lovelorn Wishee Washee – Neil Hurst has the easy patter of a man accustomed to audience interaction – is among the highlights.
Simon Webbe charms in the title role, with some slick dance moves and nods to his boy band career, although Darren Machin, in an array of eye-popping costumes, not least a cleaning-inspired dress emblazoned with the Vanish logo, threatens to steal the show as Twankey.