Grand Opera House, York. Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
The Grand Opera House in York chose Aladdin for this years pantomime, traditionally set in China. The new script was tailored for the city of York with various jokes about Acomb, this made a lot of the audience laugh (the ones from York).
The celebrity cast were there for the traditional pantomime feel of getting famous people in and chucking them on stage. The staging was one of the best aspects of the play, with the flying carpet, I was completely mind blown; as I was expecting to see a video of Aladdin on the carpet, but they used a lift in the pitch black and lit up the carpet and Aladdin. what made this panto so different from the others was the use of 3D video in the second half, everyone loved it and I mean loved it; people were jumping out of their seats out of amazement.
Acting was good on the most part, Aladdin played by Carl Tracy from a children musical group called ‘Go!Go!Go!’ Was surprisingly good, his vocals giving him a lot of the power, the main thing to note is his stage presence; he was so confident and played it like a panto hero should to do. Suzanne Shaw played the Princess Yasmin, Aladdin’s love interest, who was from the mid 2000s pop group Hear’say. She. Can. Sing. She was an absolutely amazing singer with powerful songs requiring so much power and effort. Stuart Wade was by far the best when interacting with the audience and making them join in the action, his energy was so high it made such a big difference and branch the night up 10 notches. And the Dame, Widow Twanky played by Steve Wickenden, was hilarious, with the banter between her and Dennis (an unfortunate audience member) she had various costumes that made people laugh and he played her, whist also being him very well.
However I love a panto villain as much as the next person, but Paul Sinha from the quiz show ‘The Chase’ did not have a lot of dimension, it felt like he was reading from a script for the first time. The character felt very static and flat, was this because of nerves? I hope so because you can have so much fun playing the villain. He just needs to enjoy the stage and become the guy that we know from The Chase.
The night over all was really good, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and the production itself, claiming to be ‘York’s Biggest Panto Ever’ might have been an overstatement, but it did entertain the kids and families in the audience. Do not compare it to the York Theatre Royals Panto, as they are both very good and this one is the more traditional panto, which some people prefer and some don’t.