Aladdin – Review – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Written by  //   //  Yorkshire Theatre  //  1 Comment

Aladdin Huddersfield 2018

Aladdin – Review

Lawrence Batley Theatre, December 2018

by Steve Crabtree – @stevecrab

Last December, I came to the Lawrence Batley Theatre to see my first pantomime in 31 years.  I wasn’t sure if it’d be my sort of thing, but it was so good, I couldn’t wait to come back again in 2018.

This year, the panto in question is Aladdin.  The story of a lamp, a genie, a poor boy and a princess. And as the curtain went up, the bright cartoon scenery widened the eyes, and made the kids in the audience go wow.

Aladdin Huddersfield 2018

“Outlandish outfits”

We all know the rules about panto. Stuff for the kids, subtle risque stuff for the adults. From the off, we’ve got a very funny production, peppered with local village names and references; and a Panda with bad wind! And we’re whisked away to Old Peking, to the laundrette owned by Aladdin’s mum Widow Twankey.

Twankey is hilarious, and Robin Simpson returns to Huddersfield to take the role of the pantomime dame for the second year running. With the outlandish outfits and hankies, he/she provides a constant on-going giggle for everyone.

Also returning to the LBT is Thomas Cotran, taking the lead role.  Cotran played Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk last year, and again delivers a main performance that’s nice and clean for the kids, and he sings a strong song too.

Aladdin Huddersfield 2018

“Fantastic villain”

Then of course, we have to have the baddie. We had a fantastic villain too. Bringing out the boos was the brilliant Richard Hand, playing Abanazar. Not only did he anger the kids, he also won the blooper of the evening award too. During a sword-dual with Aladdin, he accidentally flung his weapon in to the audience, and declared the rest of the fight would be “interesting”. About to carry on battle with the lamp (genie-us improvisation), the sword quickly came back on stage and normal service resumed.

As for a modern take on panto songs, we had them aplenty. We all sang along to ‘9-to-5’ with Widow Twanky, and many joined in with the uber-annoying ‘Baby Shark’ song… which the kids loved! A dad in front of me loved it as much as them too!

Former Corrie actress Krissi Bohn was a shining light as the power crazy, but bumbling Empress of Peking. And her daughter, the down to earth Princess Jasmine was nicely played out by Alyce Liburd.

Between the farce, the jokes and the slap-stick comedy there was genuine annoyance and fury from the kids in the theatre. None more so as when Abanazar persuaded Twanky to part with the lamp that promised to bring so much reward to her family.

Aladdin Huddersfield 2018

“Brash, locally raised Genie”

We weren’t short of special effects either.  The magic carpet ride scene sees Aladdin raise from the stage, and hover out in to the audience. It was pretty spectacular, and the kids were amazed. Us adults were impressed too – we all looked for the wires…we couldn’t see any!

And there is absolutely no way I could finish this review without mentioning the two genies. Stephanie Hackett plays a fantastically nerdy Genie of the Ring with immense brain power (much to Abanazar’s annoyance!) And Nicola Jayne Ingram is a brash, locally-raised Genie of the Lamp. Her tribute to Yorkshire Tea via a classic Queen track was one of the highlights of the night.

The fabulous Aladdin at the Lawrence Batley Theatre is proof (not that it were needed) that panto is for everyone. The group of Brownies in the stalls loved the show, as did this journo, his friend and all the other adults in the room.

Aladdin runs at the Lawrence Batley Theatre until January 6th, 2019

One Comment on "Aladdin – Review – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield"

  1. Pete Tennant December 14, 2018 at 10:01 PM · Reply

    Focussed from start to finish. This panto certainly different to tuthers. All cast working their socks off and enjoying it as much as the audience! All very talented professionals, some local. Genies both spectacular ……Nicola Ingram …se nermoor! She is hilarious

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm