Panto time

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THE St Helens Theatre Royal’s Christmas pantomime Aladdin has been wowing audiences. The Reporter’s Andy Moffatt went along to enjoy the show.

CHRISTMAS just wouldn’t be Christmas without panto.

And what better place to kick off the festive season in true knee-slapping, he’s behind you-style than at the Theatre Royal.

The Corporation Street theatre have been expertly serving up traditional slapstick fare for decades.

And this year’s offering, Aladdin, has all the hallmarks of a festive hit.

Former Coronation Street actor (Nick Cochrane) in lead role – tick. Outrageously camp Widow Twanky – tick. Bad-tempered Abanazer – tick.

With all the right ingredients in place, Aladdin is definitely on to a winner.

When I took my two young children to watch the show, the old theatre was practically full – not bad for a Saturday afternoon.

Aladdin opens with a rant from the dhastedly Abanazer, played by show director Richard De Vere.

The youngsters in the audience immediately recognise him as the villain of the piece and boo to order.

De Vere sets the pace for the show, ad-libbing with the audience and producing howls aplenty with a biting put-downs to one grumpy-looking audience member (Are you enjoying yourself? Then why don’t you tell your face).

The show then sets off at a rip-roaring pace with gags, gaffes and gales of laughter aplenty. One of the joys of panto is the ad-libbing and Aladdin doesn’t disappoint.

Abanazer’s mircophone malfunction is a particular stand-out, with a mock-indignant De Vere berating the sound engineer for the technological glitch.

Where the show really stands out is the set piece musical numbers, of which there are a fair few.

All of the singing cast can more than hold a tune – and all are aided by a talented troop of dancers.

All the cast – including DJ Kev Seed –are clearly having a great time performing this tried and trusted panto classic and that translates to the audience.

The younger members of the audience love it, particularly the traditional interaction, while there plenty to keep mum and dad entertained, too.

All-round entertainment for all the family ... and a classic start to the Christmas festivities.

l For tickets – priced from £7 – or group bookings contact the box office on 01744 756000.