SHE flies through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring panto dame on her flying... bicycle. With a nod and a wink to ET, Widow Twankey’s entrance is breathtaking.
KING’S THEATRE, LEVEN STREET
Yes, Allan Stewart does all his own stunts in this year’s seasonal offering from the King’s Theatre, Aladdin.
The story is simple. Evil Abanazar must find the chosen one in order to obtain the magic lamp. Aladdin, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Princess Jasmine. When Abanazar kidnaps Jasmine, it’s up to Aladdin, his mammy Widow Twankey, and her pal Wishee Washee to save the day.
And so the three King’s panto veterans, Andy Gray, Grant Stott and Stewart embark upon a new adventure, complete with latest addition to the team, Greg Barrowman as Aladdin.
Gray continues to reign supreme when it comes to comic timing, reducing the audience to laughter with a single word, whether that be ‘umbrella’, ‘balloon’, or ‘nothing.’
Grant Stott remains the most booable baddie in town, balancing scariness with just the right amount of buffoonery.
Stewart, as resident dame, gives one of his most physical performances for years, while Barrowman raises the bar whenever he sings, and proves a likeable new pal for the kids.
However, having three stars and a newcomer doesn’t come without issues, not least fitting them all in. So there’s a corruption of the story line.
The iconic cave scene feels overcrowded as our emasculated hero is accompanied by his mammy and her pal, and though the clue is in the title, at the end of Act 1 it is Widow Twankey who mounts the flying carpet to set off in search of Princess Jasmine.
Shoehorning everyone in, along with some impressive animatronic effects brings pacing issues - instead of zinging along, some scenes get there at a more sedate pace.
Still Stewart is on top form delivering a belting rendition of This Is The Moment as the show reaches its climax, before that old panto stalwart If I Were Not Upon A Stage is given a make-over and presented in place of the traditional, and much missed, song sheet.
Should you go? Oh yes you should!
• Runs until 18 January