Reviewed by Amanda Gazzard
It is the festive season and that can only mean one thing PANTO!
The classic story of Aladdin plays out in front of you and from the opening scene you realize you are in for a wonderful treat.
You are taken on a voyage which follows the young hero Aladdin on a classic rag to riches journey that takes you to exotic settings, classic good versus evil and a large measure of magic to top it off.
Wishee Washee played by comedian Ian Royce does a wonderful job in getting the audience warmed up at the beginning and his humour throughout the whole performance is second to none. Who would have thought this was his first ever panto and let’s hope this won’t be his last!
Widow Twankey played by David Phipps-Davis wowed the audience with his amazing classical voice and humour. His costumes were amazing and with each costume change (which there were many) they became more and more flamboyant. David was born to play a Dame. Aladdin played by Liam Doyle befitted the role brilliantly and teamed up with Princess Jasmine played by Denquar Chupak who had a beautiful voice made the perfect romantic couple. The Emperor played by Cameron Johnson had a strong voice and wow check out his height. His costumes made you feel he was nearly 7ft tall. As with every panto there is always an evil villain. Abanazar played by Daniel Boys is probably one of the best villains I have seen in a long time and judging from the audience who booed and hissed at him I think they all would agree with me.
Diversity, headed by Ashley Banjo, were very much the headliners in this year’s panto and I must admit even though I think their dance routines are fantastic I was slightly sceptical how this would be played out. My reservations were short lived. Diversity took on the collective role as Genies of the Ring. Diversity’s dance routines were show stopping and their street dances only boosted the show even further in my estimation.
The costumes stood out for all the cast and the stage designs were colourful and vibrant.
Junior Masters, the local performing arts group, showed off their dance moves and proved why they have returned to support this year’s panto.
The auditorium was filled with hysterical laughter from beginning to end.
The musical choices were very current, and Ian Royce’s lyrical montage scene was superb and highly entertaining.
The visual special effects are outstanding and nothing short of genius. There are lots of surprises along the way, you will have to watch it to find out as I can’t give them away!
To avoid driving around looking for a parking space the easiest place to park for free after 6pm is the sea front. It’s only a short walk up the steps to the theatre.
The theatre has a varied range of confectionary and beverages to purchase before, during and following the performance.
A very deserving 5 out of 5 stars. One of the best panto’s I have watched at the Cliffs Pavilion. From young to old you will not be left disappointed.
Tickets cost from £22 to £40.50 (booking fees may apply).
Aladdin is at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend from Friday 14 December 2018 to Saturday 5 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135