Aladdin at Fairfield Halls
On Saturday I was lucky enough to take my family along to the Fairfield Halls pantomime of Aladdin. Upon entering we were greeted by the now very familiar light-up toys stall, tuck shop, hot food, cold food and my personal favourite, plenty of toilets, a must when taking young children to the theatre. This was very much the theme of the day as with most pantomimes it was very much all about the children. The theatre had lots of blow up booster seats for the very young and the fantastic rake at the Fairfield Halls means even the shortest patrons had a very clear view.
The show itself was led by a star-studded cast with Davood Ghadami, of Eastenders and Strictly Come Dancing fame, as the evil Abanazar. Davood had excellent comic timing, strong vocals and played well with the audience. My personal stand out performance was given by Charlie Guest who played Wishee Washee. He was funny, had great energy and comic timing and the audience loved him. Charlie really kept the show moving along during some of the more stilted moments. Richard J Hunt was a solid Widow Twankey, though I thought he really came to life in the second act. Kian Zomorodian was a lovely Aladdin and played well with Kiera-Nicole as Princess Jasmine. Xenoa Campbell-Ledgister was vocally very strong as the Spirit of the Ring and Ross Dorrington’s Genie of the Lamp was very energetic with amazing acrobatics. My only complaint was that some jokes were missed due to poor diction and while the adult and children’s ensemble were strong with excellent choreography the energy on stage sometimes felt a little flat.
The set was well designed with lots of colour, surprises and a few pyrotechnics and the costumes were glitzy and very over the top in the case of Widow Twanky. My main complaint was that a lot of the songs were awkward and unknown. Though sung very well by the cast I couldn’t tell you more than one or two numbers I recognised or even remembered so if you were looking to hear some popular songs adapted for the show you may be disappointed.
Overall the show and cast did an excellent job of getting the audience involved which is really the heart of a good pantomime. My daughter’s favourite part was getting to boo Abanazar and there was of course the obligatory, “he’s behind you” and “Oh yes he did”. When asked my 4-year-old daughter gave the show 5 stars and it kept her entertained throughout. I would give it 3.5 stars and recommend taking children with you to get the most enjoyment out of the show, though it’s clearly very popular as they announced next year’s pantomime at the end of the show, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves which is already booking for Christmas 2024!
Review by Alexandria Wharram (and Harmony).
Aladdin is on at the Fairfield Halls until 7th January 2024. You can find out more about the show and book tickets here.