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Aladdin at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 12th Dec 2013 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood


With a lineup featuring celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager, Britain’s Got Talent runner-up Kevin Cruise, ex-Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and puppet Basil Brush, the cynic in me wasn’t looking forward to this year’s Windsor pantomime. But how wrong I was - oh yes I was!

After 20-odd years of reviewing several pantomimes each Christmas I confidently declare that this is among the best I have ever seen.

OK, Rosemary Shrager didn’t have much to say as the domineering Empress, but what she did say made us - and her downtrodden spouse the Emperor, played by Michael Winsor - sit up and listen. Peter Duncan veered between being too nice as Abanazar to being downright creepy, and then there’s the star duo - Kevin and Basil.

From the moment Basil Brush made his entrance the whole audience were shouting ‘boom boom!’ As Genie of the Lamp he added a new dimension to the role, doling out his usual cheek and quick wit. It’s amazing how, after 40 years, a puppet can have audiences eating out of his hand… paw? fake fur?  - but we were all smitten - and smiling.

The same can be said for Kevin Cruise. With orange tan, blond wig and dazzling white teeth, he looks pretty cheesy, but this man really knows how to work an audience, and as Wishee Washee, a wannabee inventor and explorer, we all loved his enthusiasm and energy. He’s not the best singer around but his charisma and talent for entertaining makes him a sure fired hit. Now in his fourth Windsor pantomime, this year he has taken on the role of creative consultant - which is, perhaps, why this production is so special. Steven Blakeley, who plays a marvellous Widow Twankey and also writes and directs the pantos, is brilliant, but this year’s production really went up a few notches.

There are some glorious and memorable moments in the show - and on the opening night, not all rehearsed! I wouldn’t have missed for the world seeing Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley sliding about on foam, to be followed by Peter Duncan making an entrance as the evil Abanazar, only to slip on the foam and fall flat on his back. And Steven Blakeley flaying around in mid-air on the end of a wire in the final scene was hilarious.

There were plenty of laughs too to be had from the innovative and energetic Twist and Pulse who, as PCs Hip and Hop, combine street dance and comedy, while romance, good looks and tuneful voices are in abundance with Giovanni Spano as Aladdin and Jasmine Gur as the princess.

With dance routines, both funky and international, great music under the direction of Lindsey Miller, a flying carpet, a camel called Camilla, a mummy, and audience participation, this fast-paced, hilarious pantomime is one not to be missed.

Boom boom, Basil!

Aladdin, Theatre Royal Windsor

Aladdin is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until 5 January. Box office: 01753 853888



  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Great review, Clare. Thanks. This sounds like all round family fun!
  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Something for everyone, I'm sure! Giovanni Spano's pedigree in musical theatre is second to none and I absolutely LOVE Twist and Pulse, too!
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