REVIEW: Take a trip from Horsham to China with Aladdin and friends

Aladdin is at Horsham's Capitol until December 31. Picture by Steve Robards, SR1630203
Aladdin is at Horsham's Capitol until December 31. Picture by Steve Robards, SR1630203

Aladdin, The Capitol pantomime 2016, Horsham, until December 31

Horsham audiences can expect something a little more exotic from this year’s big pantomime.

Aladdin, the classic rags-to-riches story of a washerwoman’s son who battles an evil sorcerer, is transporting Capitol theatregoers to both China and Egypt until December 31.

Written and produced by Nick Mowat, the show really makes the most of its foreign setting with some truly eye-catching sets and beautifully designed costumes.

But traditionalists can rest assured, this is still panto as we know it.

Like 2015’s Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin is an exuberant take on a well-known production with tightly choreographed song and dance numbers and plenty of crowd-pleasing comedy sequences.

One winning slapstick moment, for example, sees The Emperor of China (Richard Alan) forced to dance ridiculously to a medley of pop hits thanks to a certain technologically advanced brand of wrist watch.

It gets huge laughs, as does the scene in Widow Twankey’s laundry where the naughty Aladdin (Olly Pike) aims to get his brother Wishee Washee (Michael Goble) as wet and bedraggled as possible.

Front row ticket holders might want to wear a raincoat.

As for Widow Twankey herself (played by Martin Ramsdin), she’s as brash, funny and ludicrously dressed as you’d hope, with her costumes seemingly getting more flamboyant and silly throughout the evening.

Dani Acors also has some fun moments as the ditzy Spirit of the Ring, apparently useless until the characters need to be spirited away to Abanazar’s Egyptian Palace.

It’s not just the jokes that win people over though – Aladdin boasts some top-quality singers.

Ben Ofoedu, best known as lead singer for dance duo Phats & Small, performs ‘Turn Around’ brilliantly when he first appears as the Genie of the Lamp.

Alice Ellen Wright, as the newly besotted Princess Jasmine (love at first sight, of course), also blows the audience away with her amazing singing skills.

But this show is mainly about Aladdin (the clue’s in the title) and Olly Pike does a wonderful job as usual, proving to be the cheeky, upbeat hero that this tale demands.

Positivity aside, the story also requires a top pantomime villain and we get one in the form of James Dinsmore’s Abanazar.

Evil in an exaggerated but still family-friendly way, Abanazar is a sneering, stuck-up and slightly camp antagonist that the kids can’t resist booing.

Once again, Horsham has been given a Christmas treat that the whole family should enjoy.

Dig out your magic carpet and fly along to The Capitol.

Click here to find out more or buy tickets.

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