Review of Aladdin - Darlington Hippodrome
By Andrew Harrison - Arts critic
The magic of panto arrived at Darlington Hippodrome through QDOS Entertainment’s production of Aladdin. This has to be one of the best pantomimes I have seen in Darlington. The story of Aladdin is well known and QDOS have been faithful to the story, but they also add the magical touch through their telling of the story.
This may be the fourth panto this season, for me, with the predictable track from The Greatest Showman and a burst of Baby Shark, but this show has so much more. It really comes alive when ‘In Darlo’ to the tune of Petula Clarke’s ‘Downtown’ livens up the audience as they relate closely to the landmarks mentioned.
Louie Spence brings his own unique style to the proceedings and isn’t afraid to be part of the joke, he is clearly up for a good laugh and doesn’t take himself seriously. He does get very close to the mark for adult humour, but was loved by the audience for his twists and twirls.
The Darlington girl returning with the amazing voice is Zoe Birkett as Princess Jasmine. She is a joy to watch and it is fantastic that she returns to her home town again.
Robin Askwith as Abanazar personifies evil. He is my favourite baddie character of the season so far. Empress Ming, who gets her words mixed up, is inspirational and hilarious. Carl Douglas as Aladdin brings all the required charm and the young dancers from Joanne Banks Dancers were exceptional. There is also the outstanding band of Chris Pugh, Peter Brent and Sophie Hastings.
After all that, the best is yet to come in the pairing of Eric Potts as Window Twankey and Liam Mellor as Wishee Washee who are the best combination I have seen in recent years. The routines they create are not going to be mentioned here as they need to be seen to be believed.
That was a cracking show!