In 2012 Harrogate Theatre's education department in association with The Harrogate Advertiser launched the Young Reviewers Scheme, mentoring the finest writing talent from our local secondary schools in the art of reviewing.
The latest round of students to take part were given the task of reviewing the current hugely popular pantomime at Harrogate Theatre - Aladdin.
The winning review below was written by Ilana Pearce of The Grammar School, Leeds.
Review: Aladdin, Harrogate Theatre.
Harrogate Theatre’s oriental extravaganza, Aladdin, dazzles audiences with its side-splitting one-liners and enchanting special effects.
A classic pantomime story bursting with modern references - this spellbinding spectacular directed by Phil Lowe is unmissable.
Set in Peking, the vibrant heart of the orient, this performance features all the requirements of great panto - an evil villain with a master plan, slapstick comedy and numerous cries of ‘He’s behind you!’.
This version of the popular show, however, is enhanced by current music like Shake It Off and the entertaining Uptown Funk in a broad Yorkshire accent.
The underlying themes of greed, power and love are brought to life by the hysterical Wishee Washee played by crowd-pleasing Tim Stedman.
His character is brilliantly charming and constantly cracks jokes (‘I just burnt 1200 calories- I left a pizza in the oven!’).
A farcical accident involves him getting caught in a giant laundry machine, resulting in a mess of soapy suds and a flattened Wishee Washee cardboard cutout.
Colin Kiyani’s charismatic Aladdin is accompanied on his search for the ancient lamp by his mother Widow Twankey; a role which sees Philip Stewart dressed in an array of ridiculous costumes such as a Miele dishwasher and a pot of Chinese takeaway noodles.
Other impressive effects include mesmerising lighting and a convincing flying carpet.
One particular highlight was a ping-pong match using the ingenious technique of black light theatre, in which a series of outrageous shots are achieved using a ball on a stick and a black curtain for a superb effect.
This magical production, written by Phil Lowe and David Bown, manages to appeal to all ages while twisting the original story so that the genie’s dreams of freedom don’t quite fit the traditional bucket list you’d be expecting.
By Ilana Pearce of The Grammar School, Leeds
Aladdin runs at Harrogate Theatre until January 17.