Aladdin at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton review

Brian Fortuna and Bobby Davro
Brian Fortuna and Bobby Davro
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FROM the start of Aladdin, the children were already laughing.

The panto was brilliant with modern and up to date songs that the kids knew so could sing along to.

You expect a flying carpet with Aladdin and we weren’t disappointed. It was a fantastic effect which had the audience gasping with amazement.

The cast where brilliant and kept the whole audience entertained throughout and the children laughing throughout. Bobby Davro, had the audience in stitches with top quality impressions.

The jokes were varied with some aimed at younger members and plenty which had the adults laughter with some clever audience participation throughout. The costumes and stage sets where bright and colourful.

Over all an enjoyable performance incorporating modern songs with a traditional pantomime favourites and one of the best pantomimes I have ever seen.

Review by Natalie Bell.

WITH a little bit of magic and puffs of smoke, this year’s pantomime of Aladdin is a hit. Aladdin has a very strong dancing influence, which is brought to the production by one time Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Brain Fortuna.

As well as dancing, comedy is a key element, provided for by both Basil Brush (Chief Inspector Basil) and Bobby Davro (Wishee Washee). Mixed into the famous cheesy pantomime jokes, are some references to the surrounding areas, including Corby, Weston Favell and Milton Keynes.

The star of the pantomime is Booby Davro, who stepped up his performance throughout the show. At first he was just a little silly, pulling funny faces at the children at the front of the audience and delivering scripted jokes, but then he started performing impressions. Of course with Brian in the show, there had to be some Strictly impressions, with Bobby becoming Bruce Forsyth and Bruno Tonioli, with a special Latin American dance performed by Brian and Charlotte Bull (Scherazade).

Not only were there Strictly Come Dancing impressions, but a ‘special appearance’ from Harry Hill, which gave the audience a chance to shout ‘FIGHT!’, when determine to work out which was better, a baguette or bacon and egg. But the star impressions for Davro is when he is singing his solo, a song written for pantomime, where not only did the audience hear Bobby’s powerful voice, but also the likes of Elton John, Cliff Richards and Stevie Wonder.

Of course what would pantomime be without a Christmas song? Wishee Washee, Widow Twanky (Jeffrey Holland), and an extra did their own unique version of the 12 days of Christmas, which was funny throughout, with the audience participating, screaming ‘five toilet rolls’. But if the people in the stall thought that was funny than when it got to 12th day, they were in for a little surprise.

There was romance between Aladdin and Jasmine (Bonnie Lockheart), magic from the beautiful Scherazade and a very funky Genie of the Lamp (Eddie Kaziro). Finally a great pantomime needs a villain to boo, which was provided spectacularly by Abanazar (David O’Mahony). Of course the children cheered for the hero of the day and booed viciously for the villain.

Where would Aladdin be without a magic flying carpet? Oh yes there really is a flying carpet, which Brain Fortuna sits on making odd expressions, but then it comes over the first couple of rows in the stalls stunning everyone and those sitting under it got a chance to wave to the Strictly Star.

This year’s pantomime was provided for by Qdos Entertainment, which is the world’s largest pantomime producer. The sets were spectacular, feeling like with each set change you moved to a different location. And of course the costumes were stunning throughout, especially those worn by the ensemble, who also did a great job.

All in all if you’re a Strictly fan or want to spoil the family and get away from any Christmas blues than you should definitely go and see Aladdin and experience the magic for yourselves.

Review by Rochelle Lye

Aladdin will be performed at the Royal and Derngate stage until Sunday January 8. Tickets for the show can be purchased by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or go online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.