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Aladdin - Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Alison Smith on 8th Dec 2015 | View all blogs by Alison Smith

Reviewed 8th December 2015  

panto poster

In old Peking a poor, love-struck boy, Aladdin, is persuaded by a wicked sorcerer to retrieve a magic lamp from a cave, but Aladdin becomes entrapped. Eventually, with the help of the Genie of the Magic Ring, Aladdin escapes his terrible fate.The old lamp is being polished by Aladdin’s mother when another, stronger genie, the Genie of the Lamp appears and all the family’s problems are resolved in a flash. Happy-ever-after ensues.

These are the bare-bones of the 2015 Aladdin pantomime at MK Theatre but that dry legend is a scenario very different from the entrancing world of ‘Chineseness’ and lavishness we are presented with.The stage is decorated in red, the Chinese lucky colour, with dragons and glitter. The costumes (fantastic headwear), in vibrant oranges, golds, purples and blues, echo the splendour. The Citizens of Peking are excellent dancers, adding glamour and movement; the Juveniles, faultless in their routines, fill the stage with singing and dancing. Princess Jasmine is a story-book princess, young and beautiful.The evil magician is just evil enough to reap ‘boos’ from the audience, yet not to scare the younger children out of their seats. PC Pong excels in his role as the incompetent policeman. And the special effects – fountains of fire, a flying carpet, a balloon escapologist, laundry machines which shrink PC Pong, an elephant- size human elephant – make the pantomime exceptional and unforgettable. 

Aladdin 1

photo credit Barry Rivett

Widow Twankey, played by Gary Wilmot, Aladdin and Wishee Washee’s mother, dominates the show. In ridiculous dresses, in marvellous voice, in command of the whole stage, Gary Wilmot charms the audience. He has a first-rate script with some of the best puns and double entendres. I also enjoyed immensely the word perfect, wordplay routine ‘Who’, ‘What’ ‘I don’t know’, between Widow Twankey, Aladdin,(Ben Adams) and Wishee Washee, (Kev Orkian). The brothers are excellently portrayed. Aladdin sings well, looks  handsome and saved the show from some interesting' side-stepping' by some members of the cast. Wishee Washee, the gauche brother, is the seed for much laughter.

Aladdin 3

photo credit Barry Rivett

Are there any weak points?  In my opinion the two genies are not magical. Wayne Sleep's (Genie of the Ring) talent is his tap dancing to the Irving Berlin song, ‘Putting on the Ritz’, certainly not in his speaking. Priscilla Presley (Genie of the Lamp) should have over-acted in her role: she showed little vitality or enthusiasm.

But their performances do not detract from the over-riding joyful feeling this pantomine brings; MK Theatre's  Aladdin has the necessary ingredients for a fun-filled theatre trip for all the family – splendour, lights, music and jokes, but above all laughter from curtain up to curtain down.

Aladdin plays MK Theatre until 10th January 2016 

Bookings 0844 871 7652 


booking fee applies 


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks for this lovely, colourful review, Alison. It has its very own "lavishness"! :D
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