THE PALACE Panto has become an integral part of Christmas and this show demonstrates why.
With stunning sets, colourful costumes and a host of special effects, in this reviewer’s humble opinion this is the best pantomime ever performed on The Palace Theatre stage – and that’s saying something considering it is 100 years old.
Packed with musical numbers from One Direction, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a brief tribute to James Bond and a disco medley, at times this show represents more of a musical extravaganza than a traditional pantomime, which is no bad thing.
That said there’s still plenty of the traditional elements you would expect from a festive panto including a healthy dose of Carry On style innuendo which will have mums and dads chuckling while the children enjoy the slapstick and awful puns.
Redditch also comes in for some gentle ribbing with the Mayor’s pants, the people of Woodrow and the town’s ringway enduring some stick.
The show does make a slow start though and some of the early gags fail to raise more than a titter at best but fortunately the appearance of Rodney Ward as Widow Twankey – who incidentally wears some of the most lavish costumes ever to appear on the Palace stage – with a succession of double entendres lifts the show and from there it never looks back.
David Dobson as Wishee Washee is the perfect partner for Widow Twankey and the sumo suit dance scene will leave you crying with laughter.
I have to confess I was not convinced I would be able to see anything other than Mark Fowler when Todd Carty appeared on stage, but he won me over from the moment he first appears as Abanazaar. With his maniacal laugh he conjures up the perfect baddie and even reduced a child or two to tears. Hannah Malekzad is flawless as Aladdin, keeping the show ticking along despite the mayhem around her.
On top of all that is the beautiful flying carpet scene which brings a few gasps of wonder as it appears to fly out over the audience. There’s even some magic thrown in for good measure.
As the Palace Theatre celebrates its centenary year it’s fitting this year’s panto should deliver a show of this quality.
• Aladdin runs at The Palace Theatre until January 5. Visit redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk for more information or to book tickets or call 01527 65203.