Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Natasha Hamilton, Sean Smith, Jordan Davies, Mark Byron, Michael Chapman, Lewis Pryor, Lesley Butler, Tom Burroughs.
The Christmas pantomime, one of the great cornerstones of life and nowhere in the world really captures the point or the reason of it as much as the British, it takes sheer guts to perform so many shows to an audience to whom many are arguably having their first taste of theatre, of the slapstick fun that is at times extraordinarily paced and presented and the fun that goes with it. It is the possibly the finest of traditions and Aladdin at the Epstein Theatre is no different and one that is all too enjoyable, no matter the age of the person in the seat.
Chemistry is the key, with no personality, with no character there is no magic and magic is everywhere as the players take to the stage and give the tale of the lamp a polish and a true buffing up.
The chemistry between Natasha Hamilton as Princess Jasmine and Sean Smith as Aladdin is as perfect as you can hope for, the very look of sincerity in their performance was such that each song that was delivered with heart pumping smiles in the audience and a sense of admiration for each other’s voices; it is rare in the world of pantomime to find such generosity of spirit for another’s work but in this year’s Aladdin at the Epstein Theatre it is one that is finely tuned and one of positive illumination.
It is though to the flourishing partnership between the writer and much loved panto dame Michael Chapman and the exuberant Lewis Pryor to which Aladdin once more stands out, aided by the comic timing of Tom Burroughs as Abanazer. The play wouldn’t be the same without Michael Chapman’s absolute skill at making the children in the audience come out of the theatre feeling ten feet tall and Lewis Pryor’s manic pace, his boundless energy as the young incredible foil really marking him out as true necessity of the Christmas wish list.
Aladdin at the Epstein Theatre, what more could you ask for as the dark nights encroach ever further in, as the year comes to its final bow, the magic is all on stage and Michael Chapman and LHK Productions has once again come up with a pantomime that is the tops.
Ian D. Hall