There is nothing that gets me more in the mood for christmas than Pantomime, remembering back to my childhood where I used to be taken to see one every year brings back all the feelings of excitement!
The pantomime starts out with an advert. Yes, you read that correct, an advert. I feel very disappointed that adverts have now been introduced to theatres. It completely takes you away form the magic of theatre and I couldn't believe my eyes when it started to play! It left the auditorium feeling very stale and unenergised for the performance. However this energy dip was soon rescued by the cast.
Top of the bill is children's presenter Justin Fletcher and he is just the perfect character for Panto, playing Wishee Washee he fuels the kids with energy whenever he walks on stage. His presence is everything you’d expect from a comic relief, I’ve never seen children more excited than when he came on stage!
A1s Ben Adams plays the title character of Aladdin and does so with cheekiness that the children will enjoy. The heartthrob has all the mums on his side as well! Musical Theatre star Claire-Marie Hall plays opposite him as Princess Jasmine and what a wonderful Princess she was! Her beauty graces the stage with effortless and gorgeous vocals.
Steven Arnold and Jason Sutton bring so much comedy to the show as PC Pong and Widow Twankey, I wanted more audience interaction from them both but that seemed to be left to Justin Fletcher.
Steven Serlin played Abanazar, I felt like a bigger deal could have been made of him. More emphasis on his evilness would have been great because not a lot of that came through. Same for Shaheen Jafargholi, I felt a lacklustre performance from him. However he provided fantastic vocals, just not much connection to the audience or fellow actors on stage.
A mention must be made for Djalenga Scott who was delightful as the Genie of the Ring, she is majorly underused in the show but she brings some sexy spice to the show.
The cast is completed by a dynamic and energetic ensemble, however small it was they filled the stage with vibrant choreography by Joanne McShane.
With Set and Costumes that seem to have been recycled from last years Wimbledon pantomime, this version of Aladdin is fun and the children will absolutely love it. For the adults it may be a performance that is easily forgotten
but they’ll have a great time unwinding and laughing at the ridiculous jokes.
One thing I felt was missing was the balance between jokes for the kids and jokes for the adults, Panto is known to appeal to and be enjoyed by both equally however it felt like this one was aimed towards the children.
The line up for this years pantomime in Woking might not get you very exited but they pull together a good, high energy performance that’ll be enjoyed by the whole family. Looking for something a bit different for your family to do this Christmas season? Then head down to the New Victoria Theatre, sit back and enjoy this bright and energetic pantomime.
Aladdin plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 10 January 2015
Cast includes: Justin Fletcher, Ben Adams, Steven Arnold, Shaheen Jafargholi, Jason Sutton, Steven Serlin, Claire-Marie Hall, Djalenga Scott, Richard Franklin, Joanne McShane, Emily Cordy, Christopher Jeffers, Leanne Morris, Kiel Payton, Jobe Potter, Daniel Shepherd and Momo Yeung.