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Liam Mellor

Regal Entertainment

St Helens Theatre Royal

December 2-Jan 14, 2024


A colourful full cast of Aladdin at the Theatre Royal St Helens
A colourful full cast of Aladdin at the Theatre Royal St Helens

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The Theatre Royal St Helens regularly puts on excellent, wallet-friendly school holiday pantos, but the company always saves a bit of extra-special sparkle and surprise for its annual Christmas production, and this year’s Aladdin is no different.

Liam Mellor’s traditional but topical pantomime is true family-friendly fare – with enough traditional elements to keep the purists happy but plenty of modern touches for the social media-savvy next generation.

In some ways, it’s a show of two halves. Act One feels like an elongated scene-setter -albeit it one that zips along, thanks to Chantelle Nolan’s pacy direction.

We meet a host of characters, from Emmerdale star Liam Fox’s booable baddie Abanazar (who has the evil laugh nailed) and Warren Donnelly’s likeable PC Shameless, to our hero and heroine, Aladdin (Alex Aram) and Jasmine (Jess Smith).

There's also a recorded appearance by popular Merseyside radio presenter Leanne Campbell as the Genie of the Mirror.

Aram and Smith’s Moulin Rouge-style love-song medley is particularly well done and a highlight of the first half. But proceedings really kick into gear at the end of the first act, when we properly get to meet Tim Lucas’ blue-hued Genie of the Lamp. Showcasing a wide range of accents, a powerful voice (he’s just finished touring in the hit musical Blood Brothers) and some great dance moves, Lucas is a true scene-stealer – as befits the role of the zany, wish-fulfilling Genie.

Lucas forms a fun double-act with St Helens panto regular Lewis Divine, who plays Wishee Washee with his usual cheeky style. Divine also works really well with Richard Aucott’s fabulous Widow Twanky. Their Who lives at Number One House routine was a hit with the audience – an oldie but a goodie.

Special mention must go to Twanky’s costumes, all made by Aucott, five of which were created new for the show. My nearly-nine year old loved the football gags, the misheard song lyrics, tik-tok dances and the somewhat naughty references to "balls".

An impressive 3D flying carpet sequence by Adventures in 3D is a real hit – the auditorium was filled with shrieks and screams that turned to giggles as we zoomed around the desert-dodging snakes, spiders and ghouls.

This Aladdin is another excellent family pantomime from the Regal team and St Helens Theatre Royal – and families have until mid-January to catch it.

Info and tickets here


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