Review: Aladdin **

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York Grand Opera House

They have it all – fabulous sets, special effects, lavish costumes, imaginative choreography and great musical accompaniment in the pit. But despite all that, this production doesn’t have the sparkle, energy and repartee that traditional pantomime is all about.

Whether some of the cast had had an overly large Sunday lunch or were suffering the ill effects of a Saturday night on the town, there were times when it seemed they were merely walking through the plot as it limped along with missed cues and inaudible dialogue.

As Aladdin, Steven Arnold, Coronation Street’s Ashley, fails miserably to get to grips with the dynamics of the role and at times looks uncomfortable and awkward in the musical numbers. As Wishee Washee, veteran comic Aiden J Harvey tries hard to inject some pace into the show but his efforts soon become repetitive, overbearing and tiresome. With his fabulous costumes, even Phil Randall as Widow Twanky seemed to struggle only coming into his own in the second act.

However, the saving grace of this production is Dan Styles as Abanazar and Daniella Gibb’s Princess who pull this production out of the doldrums.

There’s some great choreography from Jessica Francis Jackson and a well drilled team of hardworking dancers and children. However this production needs some tightening up before it captures vitality, precision and energy that pantomime demands.

To January 1.