Saturday, 26 November 2016

Nottingham Playhouse.
It's panto time again... oh yes it is!
And what a panto. It's difficult for Kenneth Alan Taylor and the rest of the Nottingham Playhouse panto lot to get better year on year but yet again they have managed it.
There are some things this year that have been trimmed off of the last few years pantos which, albeit being past favourites were missed through their absence but not missed because other good stuff replaced the old faithful jokes like "Butterface".
There are a couple of new faces in the cast as well, keeping the whole panto experience fresh.
Nathan Elwick (Wishee Washee) is an excellent addition to the cast with his Geordie sense of humour and big smile, He immediately made us make him welcome in his panto debut in Nottingham. This boy is a canny dancer and he has a voice so well suited for musical theatre with its' clarity.His face also is very expressive which is a definite boon for comedy roles such as this.
Taking the lead role as Aladdin this year is Danielle Corlass who makes a welcome return with her lovely voice and those great legs.
Also back is the equally gorgeous Rebecca Little in the dual role as WPC Pong and The Slave Of the Ring, yet again showing off those lovely legs and flying feet in a wonderful tap dance section. Needless to say her comedy timing is excellent.
Irene-Myrtle Forrester, a new face to me, also has a dual role as WPC Ping and The Genie Of the Lamp, who loves a good old winge at just about everything. This woman has a cracker of a voice which is well shown off in the medley of songs as she helps Aladdin escape from the cave.
Jasmine White, also back in the fold from playing a cat to playing Princess Jasmine. This panto is one for the men as there are so many lovely faces to look at. Not only that but she shows off her athletic moves as a bonus.
Playing Princess jasmine's mother, the Empress of China, is Darren Southworth who reminds me just a smidge of Antony Cotton from Coronation Street.Not in looks but his accent and campness and I loved it. Let's face it there's nothing more camp than panto and Darren provided just the right amount of comedy camp. Another actor who also has a good voice for the theatre and well highlighted in "Aladdin".

The evil Abanaza is played by Kevin McGowan who gets that panto villain just right, injecting the right amount of nastiness into the role to make him boo worthy, but then allowing us to cheer him after he repents for his nastiness towards our hero.
Last, but by no means least, the panto dame king/queen, Mr John Elkington. back with some amazing costumes and that natural easy going as lib style of acting. he makes it all look do easy, as if he has just popped in and had a good time on stage with his mates, but letting them know that he is in charge all the same. He did not disappoint one iota and his Honey G (from The X Factor, just in case you've just crawled out from a stone), was half expected and a greatly welcomed topical addition with the Widow Twankey rap version of "Stayin' Alive". Widow Twankey , or Widow T was on the dance floor all right!
As usual the sets were amazing, designed by Tim Meacock, excellent lighting designed by Jason Taylor,big Hollywood style dance routines, choreographed by Adele Parry. Loved the sand dance, performed by Darren and Nathan, and the tap section as well as the 1920's dance section, fronting a massive Orient Express train that filled the stage. Sound, as usual was crystal clear, designed by Adam McCready.
The music was again provided by one of the tightest yet rounded group of musicians, under the direction of the legendary Mr John Morton, creating a beautiful array of tunes.
Kenneth Alan Taylor has once more pulled another brilliant, funny, topical and incredibly entertaining pantomime out of his writing bag.
A magical fluorescent section involving planets which also sung, and of course the dancing bunnies.
i love the section which involves the kids on stage as you never know what they are going to say. This tests the actor but as John Elkington was in charge, the king of the ad lib and natural chat was in his element. Ably assisted by Nathan.
The test of a brilliant production, be it panto, musical, drama, whatever, is when it comes to an end. Why do I say that? Well this panto just flew by. I was so surprised that it had run over by about ten minutes because it seemed shorter than the past years, but no, it was just that I had enjoyed this panto so very much that the time simply flew by.
This could be the best panto I've seen at the Nottingham Playhouse, and when I think how many I've seen here over the years, I've had plenty to make comparisons with.
"Aladdin" is at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 21 January 2016, and check out the "Pay What You Can" performance dates as well.

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