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Review: Aladdin soars at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Aaron Teoh and Lucy Keirl have great chemistry as Aladdin and Genie (Credit: Mark Sepple)

People who are craving a classic Christmas panto after last years lockdown will be delighted with Aladdin at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. 

The heartwarming production stays faithful to the tale of a street urchin who discovers a wisecracking genie and falls in love with a princess while adding enough new elements to keep the story fresh and engaging. 

Aaron Teoh is instantly recognisable as the titular character and does an excellent job of winning over the audience with his cheeky sense of humour and devious laugh. 

One of the most heartfelt scenes sees him and Princess Jasmine, played by Miiya Alexandra, discuss their dreams and love of singing. Her stunning vocals are one of the highlights of the first act. 

Princess Jasmine has to wear a disguise to sneak out of the palace (Credit: Mark Sepple)

However, the production tends to speed through the more serious moments in favour of some excellent physical comedy and classic pantomime humour. 

This is led by Dame Betty Bagwash, played by the charming Alex Wadham, who appears to relish the opportunity to tease members of the audience. 

Pantomime fans will adore the classic washing machine routine in which Betty shrinks the Sultana of Hornchurchopolis, played by Stacey Ghent. 

Fans will recognise the classic washing machine routine (Credit: Mark Sepple)

The show really starts to excel in the second act with an outstanding take on the iconic flying carpet scene. 

It also embraces the elements that make it more unique by taking the audience to the icy, terrifying, downright evil, realm of Norway, or is it Sweden? 

Either way, it is the home of the show’s Scandinavian villain Bjorn Nastee, played by Dominic Gee-Burch, who excels at getting the audience worked up as they boo and jeer him. 

One of the standout moments of the second half is the tribute to his favourite band, who look remarkably similar to another small group that won some obscure music contest all the way back in 1974. 

Recognise anyone? (Credit: Mark Sepple)

Lucy Keirl is also given more room to shine as Genie in the second half and it’s impressive her wit and attitude manage to stand out against a cast of very strong and distinct characters.

Aladdin successfully executes many of the hallmarks of a classic pantomime while adding its own twist to the characters and setting. There is an excellent selection of songs to entertain adults and children alike and the heartwarming humour could be just what some people need this winter.  

The pantomime is running at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch until Sunday, 2 January.

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