After last years Covid hit panto (which at one point even had the director stepping in to cover the Dame and a dance routine with the crew as backing dancers), Eastbourne Theatre's returns for a more 'normal' panto - revisiting the well loved story of Aladdin. With the usual twists and turns you'd expect from one of the best pantomime teams in the business.
The story is broadly as you'd expect - Aladdin's fallen in love with the princess but he fears that she wont be able to marry a pauper like him. But fear not the (evil) Abanazaar is there to help Aladdin gain access to a cave of riches. But inside is a lamp and inside the lamp... a salsa dancing genie. Cue puns, silliness, flying carpets and musical numbers galore as this witty, charming and fast paces panto plays out to packed houses at the iconic Devonshire Park theatre in Eastbourne.
And it has to be said the cast all deliver strong performances... Katherine Glover returns to Eastbourne after her run as Jack and the Beanstalk in 2020 as the titular Aladdin and delivers a joyful, hip slapping performance. Olivier Award winner Miles Western east up the stage as evil Abanazaar (obviously relishing his chance to ham it up) and once again Martyn Knight (returning for his 18th Eastbourne pantomime) and Tucker deliver the standard amount of craziness and chaos as Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee respectively.
The songs are catchy (and once again baby shark makes an unwelcome return) and the set pieces (especially a washing basking pun-a-thon) really deliver. And it's one of Eastbourne's most polished pantomines to date... each year the bar get's raised higher and higher. If I had one note - I'd like to have seen a bit more of Martyn & Tucker together... the panto always shines brightest when those two are unleashed on the unsuspecting audiences.
So overall then a huge success and highly recommended - another fun packed, silly three hours of Christmas joy.
Starring: Tucker, Martyn Knight, Miles Western, Tiffany Tsang, Leonardo Vieira. Written & Directed by Chris Jordan.
Aladdin is currently performing at TheDevonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne until 15th January 2022.