Panto is a chance to put your worries aside and boo and cheer – says Lee Latchford-Evans – and that is exactly what he and the rest of the cast of Aladdin at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre gave me and many others on Saturday.
I went along to this year’s panto offering from Paul Holman Associates and Worthing Theatres with my mum and my two children, aged three and nearly six, so we had a good range of ages for the cast, led by Steps’ star Lee as Aladdin, to impress.
My mum said it was the ‘best panto she had ever seen’ and that it made her laugh more than any other had done – and she has seen her fair share of pantos over the years.
My son Barney loved it from start to... when he fell asleep ten minutes before the end! That is not a bad sign, though, he had been dancing, shouting and clapping non-stop all the way through.
My daughter Ruby was in a world of her own, mesmerised by it all and fully engaging in all of the must-do panto audience participation. She also thought it was great the ‘baddie wasn’t very scary’ and loved the sparkly costumes, which she said looked like they were from Strictly Come Dancing.
I have to agree with my ‘fellow judges’ on all of their points and would definitely give this panto a place in the final.
Aladdin had everything you expect from a panto and so much more. It was non-stop entertainment, sprinkled with huge helpings of comedy capers, magical moments and toe-tapping tunes.
READ MORE: Interview with Lee Latchford-Evans
I must say Ruby had a point about the ‘baddie’ Abanazar played by the wonderful Vikki Stone. It certainly wasn’t the scariest villain I had ever seen, but that did not matter in the slightest and actually what we got was something rather spectacular. I have already been looking up when I can see Vikki Stone perform again because she was the star of the show for me.
The villain in a panto is often the target of the jokes but it was Vikki’s quick quips and hilarious facial expressions and mannerisms that had me and many others roaring with laughter.
Even the other cast members and Vikki herself found themselves holding in the laughter on a few occasions, which just added to the hilarity.
It was a little unusual at first, finding the villain so funny, but I think it is what puts this panto in a different league.
Lee, as Aladdin, and Cbeebies favourite Rebecca Keatley as Princess Jasmine, both play their parts with confidence and charm. They belt out a wide range of songs, old and new, and Steps’ fans won’t be disappointed.
The genie of the lamp is brought to life by the unmistakable voice of Brian Blessed while Dave Lynn and Mark Jones, as Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee, bring their slapstick comedy to the stage throughout the panto.
The youngsters involved also do themselves proud.
I would say this year’s panto offers less of the traditional ‘story’ with more stops for fun and frolics but it does keep the audience engaged.
Aladdin runs until January 1 and many performances have sold out so get your tickets asap and be whisked away for a worry-busting afternoon or evening of fantastic fun.
Tickets are on sale from www.worthingtheatres.co.uk or at the box office on 01903 206 206.