REVIEW | Aladdin, Manchester Opera House

A starry panto with Eric Potts stealing the show as a witty Widow Twankey

Written by  Glenn Meads | Follow @glenn_meads | Thursday, 15 December 2016 13:14

*****

IT'S panto season and First Family Entertainment have assembled stars from many genres. Fresh from his success in the Cold Feet revival, John Thomson (pictured) has a blast as Abanazar, former Loose Woman Sherrie Hewson is a chatterbox Genie, while one time A1 band member, Ben Adams, makes a spirited Aladdin. Throw in the brilliant Neil Henry as magician Wishee Washee, and Harry Potter actor, Phil Holden, as PC Pong and you have a bawdy, funny and appealing panto. 

every time Potts takes to the stage the room is lifted

Writer and director Eric Potts gives an infectious performance as Widow Twankey. An absolute pro, Potts clearly loves live theatre, whereby anything can happen... and often does. I took two young companions along for the show and they agreed that Eric was the star. 

That's not to say there is not much else to enjoy; Adams proves a charismatic leading man and has stage presence to burn, while Thomson revels in playing the baddie (and he even has a drum solo for Cold Feet fans). Hewson essentially plays herself (and the audience love her for it), while Henry is excellent during the usual sing-along involving unpredictable kids plucked from the audience. 

At times the pace is a little slack and you could certainly lose fifteen minutes (this would also prevent the little ones fidgeting), but every time Potts takes to the stage the room is lifted, winning the audience (and cast) over with every on-target joke.

With a great ensemble and a team of local children filling the stage with songs and movement, this show has something for everyone. So, don your Christmas jumper, rub your magic lamp, board your magic carpet and head to the Opera House, as Aladdin is just the ticket. 

Tickets here

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