AD | Tickets was gifted for an exchange of an honest review
CW/TW contain haze, low fog, smoke, flashing lights, loud noises, pyrotechnical charges and effects.
Oh it's panto season…oh no it isn’t…oh yes it is…
Saturday night I was invited to see the Chesterfield Christmas panto…Aladdin, at The Winding Wheel Theatre.
The show follows hero Aladdin and the journey of finding love and riches, while also fighting against the baddy Abanazar.
My initial thoughts going into the show was that, how much of the show would be for family? would it be balanced for the adults and children in the room? and how will the cast be?
Aladdin runs for 2 hours and 20 minutes including an interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own.
Directed by Di Cooke, Cooke creates a simple direction that isn’t all over the place, Cooke gets the love between Aladdin, played by Nigel Clarke, and Jasmine, played by Kristel Herrera, across effectively, and also gets the good vs evil across well too. Cooke doesn’t over complicate the direction, which gets across what is needed to be understood in a clear and quick way. Cooke’s best bit of direction in this show is the ‘If i wasn’t in pantomime’ sequence and the dance battle between Clarke and Darren Clewlow, who plays Abanazar, both are cleverly directed and fun to watch and get the laughs from the younger ones in the audience.
Written By Nick George, George's writing is funny and gets a few laughs, with a few jokes being about politics and ITVs The Chase. George makes it easy to follow for the majority of the show, but at times I did think a few words felt too complicated. George adds a few rhyming dialogue moments and the script gets the younger ones joining in. It’s a great little script with many panto traditions in there, George's script is great and well written.
Aladdin has a few familiar songs in it, such as Coldplay's ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’, and also…you guessed it a song from Barbie…to anyone who was wondering if there would be Barbie songs in this year's Panto’s across the country, this one does.
Aladdin has a cast of 17 and also 3 teams for the children's ensemble which alternate, all putting a great effort into creating this festive show.
Nigel Clarke plays the title role, Clarke is fun and energetic, and is also loveable as Aladdin. Clarke really engages the younger ones within the characters story, as well as connecting with each character on stage. Clarke is clear with the dialogue delivery, and great with expressions. Clarke is great at storytelling and shows a brilliant panto hero.
The famous role of a panto is the dame, and in Aladdin is Widow Twanky is played by Aaron Steadman, Steadman is funny as Widow Twanky and brings smiles to the audience, while also playing off each character well. Every bit of the character was well throughout by Steadman and demonstrated a great take on the role of classic panto dame, Widow Twanky!
Aladdin's heroine, Jasmin is played by Kristel Herrera, Herrera is great in the role. Herrera connects with Clarke, with this creating great chemistry between them, not only does Herrera have great chemistry with Clarke but also works well with her fellow cast members. Herrera has beautiful vocals and lovely characterisation and is a great performer all round.
With choreography by Jack Storm, Storm gives this show energetic choreography that is delivered by the talented ensemble, who give their all to help the show's numbers really shine and as the audience and you can appreciate the dancers effort and talent. Storm adds lifts and brings great technique to the numbers, Storm's choreography is great and also shows great potential in the future.
Aladdin has some pyrotechnics with scenery by Stephen Wilson. Wilson creates one of the best things from the show, which is the flying carpet scene which really will have your young ones in awe when watching, it’s brilliant to see. As Clarke is floating around on the carpet set piece behind the piece of see through gauze and a night time scene is projected on it, it becomes a great scene to watch.
Aladdin at the Winding Wheel is fun for the festive season, and is something that will get you into the festive spirit if you haven’t already. It's fun for the younger ones and will have them joining in from start to finish.
Aladdin plays at the Winding Wheel until 2 January 2024