What’s Christmas without a panto? Not Christmas that’s what! Last night, straight from school, I raced Ben and Chloe over to Liverpool to watch Aladdin at The Epstein Theatre.
The LHK Productions version of Aladdin at The Epstein Theatre incorporates a great mix of well-known favourites from the Disney film and range of singalong pop songs finishing with a cracking performance of Atomic Kitten’s “Whole Again”.
From the off the performance is loud, lively and a full on assault on the senses with bright flashes and bangs of “magic” provided by pyrotechnics and strobes.
I remember the first time I took Ben and Chloe to panto (Beauty and the Beast at The Epstein Theatre last year), they were both quite reserved and a little unsure about it. Last night however, from the moment the show opened with the wicked sorcerer Abanaza appearing on stage in a flash of evil green lighting both kids immediately joined in with some enthusiastic booing!
This year’s lead roles are taken by Natasha Hamilton (Atomic Kitten) who makes a beautiful Princess Jasmine, Sean Smith (X Factor) as Aladdin, Jordan Davies (Magaluf Weekeder) as Genie and Mark Byron (Big Brother) as Slave of the Ring. Neither myself nor the kids were particularly aware of who any of the actors were but comical references to Atomic Kitten lyrics or reality tv helped me to make the connections!
Wishy Washy, played by the lively and comical Lewis Pryor, did a great job of encouraging lots of audience interaction – a particular favourite for Ben and Chloe was a manic chase scene which saw several members of the cast chasing each other through the audience!
My personal highlight was the return of the hilarious Michael Chapman as Widow Twanky – comical add-libs and innuendo aplenty for the adults with lots of slapstick for the kids. I think the most memorable moment for me was Ben asking, “Mum, why is a mirrored ceiling funny?” Thankfully he was happy enough with my response that it was a “grown-up joke”!! I’m sure it will come as no surprise that Chloe was completely in love with Princess Jasmine!
We laughed out loud, we sang along and we waved our arms in the air – it was a real joy to watch the kids really get involved with the show, I think at 5 and 7 they’re now the perfect age for this kind of thing and having been to a couple of pantos now they’ve clicked about the boos or “oh no it isn’t” choruses that we all expect in a good old traditional pantomime! Aladdin at The Epstein Theatre is a cracking panto and well worth the late night trip to Liverpool (we didn’t get back to the car till 10pm, the kids finally made it to bed at 11.15pm)
The show runs until Sunday 8th January and tickets are available here.
*We received complimentary tickets for the purposes of review – all thoughts and opinions remain our own*