Panto review! Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre
I confess, my festive season is already complete. Done.
I occasionally review books or audiobooks, but today here is my Christmas review:
Grown-up child number two, treated me and my dear old mum to tickets for this year’s pantomime at Milton Keynes. We trotted along to the matinee performance of Aladdin in the company of hundreds and hundreds of little school children on their annual pilgrimage to ‘pantoland’.
Why am I telling you this? Because to witness so many joyful children, howling with delight for well over two hours, was tough on the ears but a complete tonic for the soul. It was magical. I wish we could bottle it and give it away; it would save thousands on antidepressants every year.
As live entertainment goes, the British panto has everything: A story with a happy ending, drama and danger, hugely energetic comedy, cheesy jokes, and ribald adult humour. Each year, millions of us fill theatre seats to chuckle and guffaw, boo and hiss with gusto. And because of the timeless nature of the performance and outrageous slapstick, we always go back for more. This run of Aladdin was no exception. I would gladly go again tomorrow. For a large part of the show I was crying with laughter, and by the end my ribs were aching.
The children in the audience were in the same state, as were their parents and teachers. The kids hooted with giggles at any mention of bums, willies, bananas or bodily functions. They almost hovered above their seats with the hilariousness of the physical comedy in the show. And my daughter honestly thought Joe Pasquale (Wishy Washy) had drilled a new orifice in his down-belows … her face was a picture!
The baddie was brilliantly bad – ‘boo’. The princess was sickly sweet – ‘aaaah’. Aladdin was heroic – ‘hurrah’, and the pantomime dame, Widow Twanky, was a drag delight – ‘Oooo!’ But a special mention has to be made of Joe Pasquale as Wishy Washy. He was astounding, and the children loved him. With double entendre running into triple ones and some unscheduled moments of ad-lib, wig disasters and unscripted tomfoolery, I was in danger of needing incontinence pads. To the whole cast and crew – I salute you. Absolutely bloody marvellous.
Fed up with an overly commercialised festive slog? – Forget expensive presents, get tickets for a pantomine, treat someone, go as a family. You’ll never forget it.