So today, for the first time in years, I went to the panto with the family. Normally TW goes with the kids and Mama, but as my sister is visiting from Singapore, we went en masse, 11 of us.
It was absolutely brilliant. Two and a half hours of entertainment, right there. Aladdin and Jasmine were young and beautiful, as expected. Well, actually, Aladdin was Jon from S Club 7, tattooed to the hilt and 32, according to Wikipedia, and Jasmine was played by Jade Chaston, whom I’d never seen before. Anyway, they were both good, and could sing. They were having fun during the performance, making each other laugh.
When did women stop playing the leading man, though? Or is it too confusing for kids these days, if Aladdin were played by a woman? I dunno…
It’s normally the supporting cast that normally make a panto, and the Dame Widow Twankey was brilliant. She was played by “Lola Lasagne”, I expect he’s a drag act for the rest of the year, he certainly had the audience in the palm of his hand.
The two DJ PCs were amazing, I don’t listen to Heart FM myself, but apparently Tom and Jack are well-known in the area. They did a couple of numbers and were pretty good at being the light relief.
My claim to fame is that I knew the actor playing the Emperor of China, kind of… He used to live on our road and is a friend of a friend – Darren Clewlow. He was brilliant, and knowing that we knew him added to the fun of the panto.
There was one scene where they wanted to depict Aladdin flying on a magic carpet, which had us in stitches. Basically, they had Jon in a luminous outfit and turned the lights down, then they had him slip his feet into a luminous cardboard flying carpet, almost like a surfboard. He was in a harness and they lifted him up and swung (swang?) him from side to side across the stage, as he was singing a number. It was very effective, and certainly achieved the intended impression, but it was beyond cheesy. It was a moment of inspired theatre, and probably worth the entry fee by itself.
I was very proud of the Middle Child, as when they were trying to open the cave to get to the Lamp, Aladdin and Abernazer (“Half a Lager”?) asked the children if they knew the password, and she shouted out “Open Sesame!”. They acknowledged her, and thanked her… I think they said something like it would be a bloody long play if no-one knew the password… 🙂

The whole cast could sing, and it was really enjoyable. I shall probably go again next year.

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