There’s a genie at the Hawth delivering a huge lampful of festive cheer, so if you’re not feeling those happy Christmas vibes yet, never fear!
The Crawley theatre’s panto never fails to impress and Aladdin is another hit, sweeping the audience along with a production packed full of delightfully silly fun and plenty of song and sparkle.
We could feel the excitement all around us before the curtain even went up. Expectations were high, and were met as soon as the evil Abanazer took to the stage to share his dastardly plans for acquiring fame and fortune.
Abanazer was brilliantly played by Jason Gardiner, who revelled in the boos and hisses from the enthusiastic crowd.
Jess Robinson’s Spirit of the Ring was wonderful, using her skills as a singer and impressionist to great effect.
Shaheen Jafargholi (Aladdin) also showed he has a great voice, as he sang of his love for the beautiful Princess Jasmine (Emily Day), in spite of the disapproval of her father the Emporer (Phil Stewart).
The jokes were perfectly pitched and just kept coming, with heaps of laugh out loud moments courtesy of the marvellous Widow Twanky (Michael J Batchelor), Wishee Washee (Ian Jones) and PC Pongo (Richard Franks). It’s not just the kids who love the panto set-pieces; us parents love a good ghost gag and a custard pie or three as well,
And of course, you can’t have Aladdin without the Genie of the Lamp, and Nathaniel Morrison was truly magical in the role.
The strong cast were well supported by a team of talented dancers, and it was lovely to see so many young performers involved.
Just before the show began we were briefly evacuated due to a fire alarm, which just provided more material for hilarious ad libs.
Once again the show is written by Paul Hendy and produced by Evolution, the team behind last year’s record-breaking production of Snow White.
And this deserves to follow suit as another box office smash. If you love pantos, you’ll definitely love this one.