Aladdin - Poole Lighthouse's Magical Pantomime

 As December draws in, Christmas lights twinkle, and families gather together, nothing beats heading to the local theatre to watch a good old British pantomime. There's something special about silly nonsense, shouting 'he's behind you' and watching actors make slight fools of themselves on stage. It's a type of show that definitely doesn't take itself seriously and evolves throughout its run to become something even more nonsensical than when it started. And the Poole Lighthouse pantomime this year is no exception. 

This year, the Lighthouse Poole have taken on a classic pantomime favourite, Aladdin. A tale that follows Aladdin, the down on his luck thief as he tries to win the heart of the princess with some help along the way from a friendly Genie. Having been written in house by Chris Jarvis, with musical supervision from Darren Reeves, this show has a local flair to keep the audience on their toes.

Of course a pantomime version of Aladdin has a few unexpected twists and turns, along with some comedic joy to brighten even the grumpiest of smiles. You are introduced to Aladdin's mum, the legendary Widow Twankey, and his brother Wishee Washee, both of whom run the local laundrette in the town whilst causing all kinds of havoc. And you have Professor Pocus, the villain of the story who wants to control all the power and magic and steal Princess Jasmine for his own. As the story unfolds you feel that you are watching a familiar story you know and love, with a twist that keeps young and old entertained. 

Chris Jarvis takes on the role of Twankey, engaging the crowd throughout the show and keeping the laughs coming alongside local lad Josh Haberfield, who truly had some brilliant stage presence. I thought both Benjamin Armstrong and Ionica Adriana were the perfect pairing as Aladdin and Jasmine, with both innocence and feistiness as they flew across the stage in their whirlwind romance. Andrew Pollard was the perfect villian as Pocus, with his 80's glam rock inspired look, the audience booed and shouted to their hearts content, yet he received one of the biggest applauses at the end of the night. I loved Alim Jadavji as the Genie, with such sass, impressions, and flair, he truly stole the show for me. 

This performance of Aladdin is a brilliant show for the whole family. It's one that doesn't take itself seriously and leans into the locality of the audience. With references that everyone knew and could laugh along to, and dialogue that was fun and silly, you were entertained from curtain up to final bows. Whilst this is not a high end panto that's been brought in by a company, it's clear to see that it has heart and will win over audience members and bring some festive cheer to all. I loved the visual effects, unexpected flying, and magic, whilst Max loved the silly jokes, physical gags, and pure ridiculousness of the evening. And I think the verdict of the audience, which had the majority up and dancing at the end shows just how engaging this pantomime is. 

Running until 31/12/2023, you can buy tickets and find out more information here: Aladdin - Lighthouse Poole

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