Aladdin Birmingham 2015 - 16
Aladdin Panto Reviews
Here I am back home after a fab Christmas with family.
After such wonderful hospitality I decided to treat my hosts
to the panto in Brum only 30miles away - so almost local.
We set off early just in case there were hold ups on the motorway.
This meant we arrived early and had time for a drink. It was lovely
to see lots of Chitty posters and flyers with Lee’s name on them
as well as the panto posters. It was a nod to what we have to look
forward to next year.
I am jealous after reading Jane’s review because our seats were
in the rear of the stalls. Still central and a good view to enjoy the
magic carpet ride with Aladdin.
The lights went down and the action started with a very dramatic
Abanazar, aka Marti Pellow as we have never seen him before.
It was not long before our humble hero appeared on stage looking adorable and a bit boyish in his blue costume.
However beneath that blue tunic there was a man filling the blue velour tights. #faint Lee can pull off boyish charm but even in those boyish costumes his manly body is not hidden.
References to 'Any Dream Will Do' were peppered throughout the show and of course The Keeper of the Ring, aka Julian Clary had some teasing one liners during Lee singing it. I don’t know how Lee manages to keep a straight face sometimes.
The duet with Aladdin and the Princess was hilarious.
Matt Slack is perfect as Wishee Washee. He was still recovering from his sore throat but he threw himself into the role. #Literally
I love the Genie of the Lamp. Tall, dark and with a funny black country accent. Yes, it’s Black Country NOT brummie.
(ed's note: spoken like a brummie girl.)
At the end of the show my family was enthusing about the whole show. They loved it. #phew They were even talking about it the next morning so I recon this proves Aladdin is a hit.
I hope I didn’t reveal too many spoilers. I encourage everyone to see this no matter what age you are -
you will love it!
I'll start by saying I don't think I'm a panto lover, so I'll just comment on the Lee bits!
He was in mighty fine shape and voice; he can carry off a tunic and crushed velvet leggings like few others in my well-studied opinion. ;)
I would have loved to hear more singing, but this really was a panto about the special effects and wizardry and the actors supported that. Julian Clary even made the dry comment that they would vacate the stage for the 3D, though why wouldn't we prefer to see actors? But it is all about the mix of styles for this show, whereas last year was more traditional. I liked the dark start, but that wasn't the flavour of the show, so don't worry if that's not your thing. It soon lightens and gets very silly. I was bemused about it being China and the Pyramids, but its Panto, so I decided to drop any historical accuracy of reference and opt for 'in the moment'.
My advice for this show is that if you have yet to get tickets and if there are any more available, gravitate to the stalls, front left. It's a 'Lee' corner and *ahem* if there are going to be any costume malfunctions during a certain scene, he may need your support. ;)
I think Jane summed up how he handled the above scene!
Lee's a good sport; they use him to bounce all their jokes off, most at his expense, and he pulls the faces and keeps in time with them. He's a good comedy straight man, like Ernie Wise was. You don't have the great comedians like Eric unless you have an Ernie.
I see why Matt Slack is so popular, he is likeable too. JC, I wonder if he's just there for the money this year (my opinion), and Marti as the baddie - great shot at it; he's just got to decide whether he's Scottish or not (that's my Mother's opinion). I couldn't care less as he filled panto villany pretty well.
For me, I wish Lee had spent the whole show in the final white costume - both the blue and gold had their highlights.
But the white one, that was panto perfection!
Photo Credit: Birmingham Hippodrome
Photo Credit: Birmingham Hippodrome
I'm trying to write a review of Aladdin without giving away any spoilers for those intending to see it.
Ooo it's difficult!
Let's see...OK for a start they've followed the panto tradition of setting the story in mostly China but with a nod towards Disney by having the Princess Jasmin rather than say Leo Tan. (Funny how some of the professional reviewers think it’s traditional to set Aladdin in Arabia. No guys – it may be an Arabian Night Story but it’s set in China. Just coz Disney had different ideas...oh I seem to be ranting. Get on with it, Jane!)
The panto literally opens with a bang (Damn was that a spoiler?) and unusually with the villian - Marty Pellow's Abanaza. He's a great bad guy - and one moreover who can actually sing (sorry Mr Havers. I adore you too though). The scene is ermm a different, and very dark, way to start the Aladdin story. The effects were incredible but it left me a bit puzzled as to what exactly was going on.
Still it's not long before our hero appears looking mighty fine in brilliant blue with REALLY tight leggings. Phwoar!
He has several songs in the first act to show off his wonderful voice. They were played for laughs. Anyone who saw Jack and the Beanstalk will be familiar with Julian Clary’s teasing during ADWD –
it was reprised here (oh ‘eck another spoiler). I love Lee's comic timing and that he shows off what a good comedian he is - particularly in a romantic duet which descends into slapstick.
I had a great seat in row C at the left. Not only was it nice and close
it turned out I had a great view of Lee during the first magic carpet ride (err – we all knew about the magic carpet didn’t we? So not a spoiler then.)
Of course Julian Clary and Matt Slack are the main comedy turns - with the witness Widow Twanky as their foil. Poor Matt had a bad throat on Tuesday and could barely speak. He was a trooper though and struggled through. I must praise his performance in adversity.
In the second half we see somewhat less of Lee. But we do get to see him in his bling costume which shows off his chest...
(oh my, I’m having a moment...give me a minute...right then).
If you are into comedy gymnastics you are in for a treat! There is an amazing routine with a gym horse (though personally I would be happy if it was a bit shorter). The 3d magic carpet ride is incredible!
My favourite scene is one of intense silliness involving all the male leads, sauce pans, and wooden spoons. I am not going to tell you anymore about it other than – I adored the dignity with which Lee took part in the silliness. He reminded me of Graham Chapman in
the Monty Python movies – ignoring all the stupidity going on
around him with panache.
The finale looked fabulous! And another change of costume for
Lee - which I thought he looked beautiful in.
So did I manage? Sort of spoiler free?
Photos below credited to Birmingham Hippodrome Facebook. Additional photos and booking info on their website:
Aladdin - The Full Story
And so we come to the end of another exciting Panto season.
The final curtail has fallen and and now is the opportunity to
hear the Full Story - "spoilers" and all.
And who better to tell the story than Jane W? So, without further
ado, but with lots of photos, click on this photo for 'Aladdin -
The Full Story' by Jane W . . .