The festive season has officially been rung in, in Crewe, with the opening of the Lyceum pantomime, Aladdin. The traditional tale sees our hero Aladdin, retrieving the mystical lamp from the cave of wonders from a mysterious stranger, Abanazar, in his dastardly attempt to become the most powerful sorcerer by summoning the genie and marrying Aladdin’s beau, Jasmine.
Set to a number of fantastic backdrops (hats off to the set designer), household names in the cast include a fantastic lineup of dancer Louie Spence (Spirit of the Ring), Corrie’s Jamie Kenna (Abanazar) and Milkshake TV presenter Kiera-Nicole Brennan (Jasmine). They are joined by Crewe’s favourite dame Malcolm Lord in his 6th year (Widow Twankey) and Ste Johnston (Wishy) who returns after performing in panto at The Lyceum 10 years ago. Making their Lyceum debut is Canadian, Thomas A. Chan (Aladdin) and Amelia Atherton (Genie)
As you would expect, Louie Spence brought high energy to every scene he was in, responsible for much merriment, he very much lived up to the Louie we know and love from such programmes as Pineapple Dance Studios and Celebs on the Farm. He stepped, twirled, and tapped his way through his role, delivering his dialogue with his famous many facial expressions which convey a thousand words and cheeky ad-libs (he was in Cats you know!).
Jamie Kenna was excellent as Abanazar. The archetypal villain of the piece, he scowled, cackled and encouraged much audience participation and played his role really well. His solo during the second half (complete with electric guitar in the routine) was impressive.
Keira-Nicole played Jasmine really well, her dialogue strong, good stage presence and her vocal performance was excellent. Pairing well with Thomas A. Chan as Aladdin who also gave a really strong vocal performance, they worked great together, the audience routing for them to defeat the evil Abanazar and win through in the end. Assisted by Amelia Atherton as the genie who gave a rousing solo (there are so many brilliant singers in this production), whirling on to a cloud of smoke and delivering her rhyming couplets with aplomb.
Familiar face, Malcolm Lord was, as ever, a welcome return. It would be impossible to guess what outfit he will appear on stage in next, he plays the Widow Twanky in this production and his comedy timing is fantastic. His comedic foil this time was Ste Johnston as Wishy, they were brilliant as a pair (especially the chaos in the launderette) and gave many laugh out loud moments. Both had a fantastic rapport with the audience and breaking the fourth wall several times, the laughs flowed from there. A shout-out to Ste for his extremely funny ‘The Music Man’ with younger members of the audience.
The support from the ensemble and the young backing dancers was excellent and it is so fantastic to see the visible talent from the youngsters in the production.
The whole production was a joy start to finish, it’s everything seasonal cheer should be. It’s exciting, hilarious, thrilling, plenty of local humour, the costumes and sets shine and the cast add the Christmas sparkle. The theatre were on their feet well before the final curtain fell.
The production runs until 8th January and tickets are available here www.crewelyceum.co.uk