One not to miss this Christmas, if it’s brightly-coloured family fun you’re after - our review of Aladdin at Theatre Royal Winchester by Kimberley Barber


IT’S a wonderful part of Christmas tradition that was one of many things missing from our lives last year.

Now, as we look to the future with some renewed hope albeit with the backdrop of impending passports, mask wearing and working from home, Aladdin has burst on to the stage with its bright sets, pooh jokes and a storyline that draws you in.

Yes, even Wishee Washee himself - played by the excellent babe magnet Ed Thorpe - admits that he gets lost a bit by the tale of Aladdin, but that’s ok, most people do, all you need to know is that it all works out well in the end.


Aladdin at the Theatre Royal

Aladdin at the Theatre Royal


We all end up feeling a bit of sympathy for Sgt Poo, with his misguided love, obviously after laughing at his misfortune.

And we loved it when Rikki Chamberlain transforms into the genie, a role that plays homage to the legendary Robbie Williams.

With Aladdin played by Libby Gore, a female actor playing a male role, and Widow Twankey played by Julian Eardley, a male playing the dame as is panto tradition, there are plenty of opportunities for gender-swapping gags.

Yes, it’s a panto so the comedy does veer into the gutter - or toilet - at times, but Aladdin does so with style and grace. The humour is actually humorous, and manages to stay on the right side of political correctness. There’s not too much to explain to the kids after.


The full cast of Aladdin

The full cast of Aladdin


My personal star of the show was the fantastically evil Abanazar - or should that be Ave A Banana or Ava Gardner - played by Ben Tolley who takes on the villain role with a poshness fit for the historic Winchester setting.

His song Bad Man, where he bursts into a sax solo, being my top song.

All in all, the show ends like any good panto should - boy gets girl or in this case girl gets girl. Whatever it is, all the stars erupt on the stage for a stunning red finale. It's great family fun and with the brilliant setting of the newly-renovated Theatre Royal as its backdrop, would make for an excellent festive outing.