We Are Chester’s Angela Ferguson and her two daughters head over the border to Theatr Clwyd in Mold to check out Aladdin the Wok ‘n’ Roll Panto.
“That was the best panto I’ve ever seen mum.”
Maybe I’m out of a job when it comes to writing reviews now, but that’s the verdict in a nutshell from my 11-year-old daughter as we leave the Anthony Hopkins Theatre after enjoying a night out watching Aladdin the Wok ‘n’ Roll Panto.
I’d been to Theatr Clwyd‘s rock ‘n roll panto a fair few years back with my son, who is now 18, and so I didn’t know quite what to expect this time round. I’m now wondering why on earth I left it so late to return to watch this annual festive treat.
Toe tapping music
It was a full house as we took to our seats, ready to see Theatr Clwyd brings the sights and sounds of the streets of Peking to the bustling market town of Mold. The whole production was infused with a generous, festive dose of toe tapping music and song, courtesy of the talented cast of 10 and some stellar rock and soul classics.
We were utterly in awe, in fact, of how ridiculously talented the cast were – as well as singing and dancing, they also play a vast range of musical instruments. Blimey, I bet they need their three Shredded Wheat before each performance.
If there’s a laughter quota set for the evening, then we definitely exceed it, in spades. A stream of gags keep coming throughout the night, with a heady dose of wisecracks to entertain the kids and a fair few double entendres to make the adults in the audience chuckle.
Both of my daughters chuckle at the jokes laced throughout the performance and they love the music and drama of this good old fashioned tale of goodies triumphing over the baddies.
Oh no, it isn’t!
No panto stone goes unturned, with a good dose of boos and hisses doled out for the villainous Abanazar (Toby Lord), as he plots to steal the magic lamp, along with the unmissable opportunity to join in with an occasional chorus of ‘oh no, it isn’t!’ and ‘he’s behind you!’.
And, yes, we also get a bit of good old-fashioned romance to boot, with Aladdin (Josh Tye) vying for the attentions of the Princess (Nicola Martinus-Smith).
Widow Twankey (Sean McKenzie) steals the show on a regular basis, with his outlandish costumes and his penchant for a bit of double entendre. Wishee Washee also manages to get us cheering, laughing and grooving in equal measure with his comic timing and his range of comedy faces that sometimes belie the moving lyrics he is singing.
Groovy green locks
All in all, it’s an action-packed production, with full credit to the talented behind the scenes team who made this possible – including writer Peter Rowe, director Hannah Chiswick, musical director Tayo Akinbode and choreographer Matthew Cole. The wigs, hair, make up and wardrobe team led by Deb Kenton and Debbie Knight also did a stunning job, bringing this classic tale to life. The quiffs on some of the male actors were a triumph of hair over gravity, as was Genie’s explosion of groovy green locks.
To add to the festivities, this year Theatr Clwyd have also laid on an outdoor ice skating rink, together with a funfair, so if Christmas merriment and memory-making are where it’s at for you this year, I would strongly suggest you head along to Theatr Clwyd. But be quick, as I’m reliably informed that tickets are selling fast.
Aladdin runs until Saturday, 21 January 2017, with matinees and evening performances available.
Photos: Brian Roberts