Review by: Paul Towers, 24/8/2015
Aladdin – devised and directed by John Bale
Leicester Drama Society
The Little Theatre, Leicester 11 December to 3 January 2016
“Perfect pantomime fare for all the family”
Every year Leicester Drama Society, the resident company based in Leicester’s Little Theatre on Dover Street, settles in for the festive season with a pantomime. This year’s offering is Aladdin, the tale of a love found and lost, a magic lamp found and lost, vast riches found and lost and found again. You get the idea.
This is a production that relies heavily on corny jokes, excruciating puns, slapstick comedy, lavish costumes and pop songs shoe-horned into a wildly improbably plot. Perfect pantomime fare for all the family, especially when you get a flying carpet thrown in alongside some rather telling digs at various landmarks around Leicestershire.
An enthusiastic young audience who had, I have no doubt, over done it on the Haribo beforehand, scream and shouted on cue, booed the rather camp and villainous Abanazar, cheered the completely unconvincing Widow Twanky (which is as it should be) and obliged Wishee Washee with every catch phrase he threw at them. Some of the theatre staff seemed a little stressed during the interval when hordes of pre-school darlings ran up and down the aisles. But the minute the lights went down an expectant hush settled over even the most troublesome toddler and the magic resumed.
Whenever I go to see an amateur or ‘community’ production it always strikes me that there is such an abundance of talented performers who would never consider making a living in the theatre. The greater country’s loss is Leicester’s gain.
There were several familiar faces in Aladdin and it was great to see them broadening their capabilities. Especial mention has to go to James May’s Wishee Washee who has progressed from junior dancing to his first leading major role. Keir Watson, playing Abanazar, has been in many local productions and gives full reign to his nefarious side in the role. Joe Chamberlain and Isaac Hart as the Chinese Policemen fill the stage with both physical and verbal nonsense to great effect.
Despite some odd dropping out of the radio microphones nothing was going to spoil the show for the very vocal youngsters attending probably their first theatrical performance.
Tickets are available at www.thelittletheatre.net/whats-on
First published on Western Gazette