Family panto is magical
WE ALL know Aladdin's famous lamp has special magical powers, but Louth Playgoers' version of this traditional family pantomime enjoys an abundance of magical appeal.
The production team of Peter Maddison and Stuart Spendlow ensure that Alan Frayn's script bristles from start to finish with all the pace of a Formula 1 racing car.
Musical numbers from the age of rock 'n' roll through to Take That and Lady Gaga add a touch of glamour to the well-known story.
Meanwhile, these also provide the backdrop for eye-catching routines, choreographed by Nicky Wright, from the Studio 2000 dancers, including their unforgettable tiny tots as kung fu pandas.
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In any panto the real glamour, of course, belongs to the dame and, making his debut in a frock, Jamie Harris shines like the brightest star as Widow Twankey.
He is gloriously over the top, happily engages in ad-lib banter with the audience, not afraid to pick on the unsuspecting and delivers humour for innocent children and knowing parents.
However, there are other stars in this constellation; the wise cracking Neil Warne as Wishee Washee and Ruairidh Greig as the evil Abanazar, whilst Alex Dunn and Erin Read play Aladdin and Princess Madarin.
No panto is complete without chaos and mayhem; Susan Munro and Neal Brown, as the policemen Yu Dun Wong and Hu Dun Pong, prove an hilarious partnership.
The other key ingredient to the success of any panto is the audience and on opening night the cast were rewarded with one happy to do their bidding, eager to join in and not afraid to heckle.
It would be remiss not to acknowledge the hidden stars, the backstage crew, they provide some impressive special effects and their set change at the end of Act 1 is masterly; surely needing a little help from the genie in the lamp.
This Aladdin is great entertainment for all the family, outclasses some professional productions I have witnessed and well worth seeing.
Aladdin runs until Saturday and is performed at 7.30pm nightly. To book tickets, call the box office on 01507 600350.