Aladdin at The Broadway Theatre Catford.
With Christmas promptly approaching, there was only one way to spend a dark and cold Wednesday and apparently that was in Catford, at The Broadway Theatre.
The 86 year old theatre is currently hosting the pantomime Aladdin, oh yes it is! Having been a part of professional productions that have produced work at this theatre and knowing the size of the stage and the room they have in the wings etc, I was sceptical as to whether they would be able to pull off a performance to the level that is expected from a professional pantomime; but I am happy to say that overall, they did.
Many aspects of the show were put together so well. The set design being one; it fit the stage like a glove, gave it a level of depth and almost gave the impression that that stage was a lot bigger than it is.
The story really begins when we arrive in the town of ‘Peeking’. The cast perform the well-known track “Can’t stop the feeling” by Justin Timberlake and get the crowd bopping along. The number is led by Aladdin, Luke Street and Wishy Washy, Samuel Freeman and supported by the senior and junior ensemble. The number was highly appealing, and the choreography was nice and slick, a common thing throughout the show I’m pleased to report.
I would also like to comment on the magnificence of ‘Uptown Girl’; bravo! So simple. So united and altogether a perfect crowd pleaser. I smiled the whole way through.
Unfortunately, the sound throughout persisted to be an issue for me, especially when it came to duets or group numbers with solo leads. Although the band played flawlessly from beginning to end, they overpowered the vocals. Aladdin’s mic was the only mic that was consistently auditable.
Now then, let’s talk about the traditional out of story song performed by the principal cast members, ‘If I wasn’t in pantomime.’ The tricky but clever choreography really set the barre high. The performer in me really wanted the cast to nail this number without any accidents or crashes but as an audience member I secretly wanted something to go wrong. Brilliantly, the number did have a couple of accidents and the audience were in absolute stitches, the roar of laughter was so contagious that even the grumpiest of people would have had to smile. I can honestly say it was my favourite number in the show.
The second act of the show was most definitely delivered with a more relaxed vibe than the first and this was definitely a positive. It felt like the cast had taken a breath and were now enjoying themselves, which meant as an audience member I enjoyed it more too.
Finishing the show with ‘Baby Shark’ on repeat was the cherry on top of the cake. The entire audience were up on their feet joining in with the actions and even those ‘Baby Shark’ virgins managed to get the hang of it and join in. The atmosphere was electrifying.
Overall, I can honestly say that this show ticked all the traditional pantomime trait boxes and they have pulled off something truly magical. From the classic and relatable puns about its hosting town to the truly wonderful chemistry of the performers. I left this show feeling truly happy and I believe that if you leave a pantomime feeling this way then the cast did their job. The show runs until Sunday 30th December, so you better grab your tickets now.
Review by Laura Whittingham
Aladdin is running at The Broadway Theatre until the 30th December. To find out more visit their website.