Review: Aladdin At Swansea Grand Theatre
by Catherine Moon
December 21, 2011
IF you have to choose which pantomime to go and see this year, make sure it’s this one.
It has everything you could want – including amazing 3D effects – all wrapped up in a professional package.
The anticipation was palpable in the auditorium and the energetic opening number was bold and colourful. The lead characters were skilfully introduced and the Emperor of China’s costume was magnificent, with a head-dress which appeared to be almost as tall as he was. David Lawrence played the part to perfection.
Lauren Pixii Urquhart as Scheherazade was lithe and luscious, the envy of every little girl (and most mothers) in the audience. Zoe George played Princess Jasmine as a sweet and demure girl and she sang some delightful duets with the very upbeat Liam Doyle as Aladdin.
The villain of the piece, Abenazar, was played with a modern twist and humour by Gavin Woods and was booed and hissed with great enthusiasm by the whole audience.
But Widow Twanky was, as ever, the comedy star of the show with Kevin Johns demonstrating why he is such a hugely popular pantomime dame, year after year. His costumes were even more outrageous and we all enjoyed his topical references to local places and events.
The big name in this year’s panto is, of course, Jimmy Osmond who really got into the spirit of panto. The audience loved him and joined in with everything he asked of them. At one point the panto became a bit of a Jimmy Osmond Show with Jimmy singing some of his hits of yesteryear, but the audience lapped it up and would have been disappointed if it hadn’t been included.
The 3D effects were amazing – from huge chunks of rock hurling through the air to flying dragons, spiders and magic carpets. There was always the danger that modern effects of this sort would detract from the earthy magic of panto, however, our two 11-year-old boys (who we thought might be getting a bit past panto) left the theatre declaring the whole evening as “amazing” and “brill” – quite an achievement.