Theatre review: Aladdin – Manchester Opera House

It’s panto season and I for one could not be happier! Aladdin is at Manchester’s Opera House, and features a star-studded cast, an actual flying carpet and a subtle joke about haemorrhoids that had me howling from the stalls.

Headlined by Loose Women’s Sherrie Hewson and Cold Feet’s John Thompson, playing the Genie of the Lamp and the dastardly villain, Abanazar, Aladdin was hilarious and immensely enjoyable throughout. The laughs were constant and even the cute bits for the kids had me living! I’m always there for a bit of A-Ha’s ‘Take on Me’ too!

Our handsome hero Aladdin is brought to life by former A1 stud, Ben Adams (phwoar), and the lovely Princess Jasmine by Claire-Marie Hall. They fall in love and want to get married after one song – which sounds like me on a Grindr date. Meanwhile, Aladdin’s brother Wishee Washee does magic tricks the whole time. This show is literally a treat for the entire family!

There was also one other thing in this masterpiece that absolutely finished me… WIDOW TWANKEY! Eric Potts, the writer and director of the show, is our pantomime dame and I’ve never laughed so hard, so consistently, so genuinely in my life. Every single joke hits the nail on the head and lands perfectly. Sex references, how shit Manchester is, how useless her kids are, how she wants to Marvin Gaye and get it on with the emperor! Absolutely hilarious! I’ve tweeted at Eric already to tell him how brilliant he was and when he said his piles [of washing] were getting bigger that I think went over a lot of the audiences heads, I was streaming tears of laughter. The struggle is real and so, so, so goddamn funny! Brava! BRAVA!

After Aladdin’s magical carpet ride – in which he actually flew around the stage – there was a slight technical mishap in which a backdrop became stuck and didn’t come down, leaving Aladdin sat awkwardly on the magic carpet in the air, fully visible waiting to be brought down. This actually added to the show for me and I hope it was meant to happen because it had me howling with laughter again. What’s a Christmas pantomime without a technical fault?

Aladdin is fantastic – a real treat for the entire family. If you’re struggling to think of what to buy relatives, young and old, or just don’t want to go Christmas shopping, take them to see Aladdin!

I know I say this every time but if you want a laugh and an evening of hilarity, sex puns and sitcom stars trying to out-reference each other, GO SEE ALADDIN AT MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE!

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