Review: Aladdin, Brunton Theatre

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*****

A man in a dress? Check. A baddie to boo? Check. Lots of joining in? Check. Funny lines to amuse the kids. Check. Enough innuendo of the nudge-nudge wink-wink variety to keep the grown-ups entertained? Check that, too.

Yes, the annual Christmas show at the Brunton Theatre ticks all the right boxes to be a fun-filled show for all the family – and you can’t say fairer than that.

In this magic carpet ride of a panto from writer and director Liam Rudden, the rip-roaring adventure story of Aladdin is brought magically to life by a superb cast who, during Friday’s big gala opening, looked as though they were having as much fun as the audience, camping it up in full panto garb.

As far as the story goes, this is the tale of Aladdin we’re all familiar with, albeit with a few twists and turns. In this take on the Middle Eastern folk tale, Princess Jasmine becomes Princess Thistle Blossom (“the bonniest lass in Musselburgh”), Widow Twankey runs a laundry with the help of her other son, the daft-as-a-brush Wishee Washee, and Musselburgh is an annex of ancient Peking.

Right from the get-go, the little kids (an excitable bunch, it has to be said) were spellbound – as were the big kids. And it was the dynamic duo of Scott Hoatson (Wishee Washey) and Colin Carr (Widow Twankey) who were responsible for all the giggling in the aisles.

The pair kept the laughs coming from start to finish, and it’s doubtful there’s a better double act on the panto circuit this year.

Elsewhere, Julie Heatherill was suitably lovely as Princess Thistle Blossom and Derek McGhie rubbed the audience up the right way as Aladdin – both had great singing voices and got the audience boogying on down to a string of catchy pop songs.

Playing the evil Abanazar, Edward Cory prompted plenty of “boos”, offering just the right amount of nastiness, without being too scary.

This show has many standout moments and to pick out the best bits would take up far too many column inches, not to mention completely spoil the treat for the young ‘uns.

In short, Aladdin is a real crowd-pleaser that grants all three wishes and some more besides. Oh yes it does.

Run ends January 7