Aladdin is one of my favourite panto’s and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without seeing it at this time of year. Lucky for me, Its Milton Keynes Theatre’s panto of choice this year and what a fabulous cast it boasts.
Joe Pasquale is Wishee Washee and he is simply hysterical. I couldn’t put it any other way. It’s always a funny part but boy, has Joe made it his own. I also think Joe has an agenda to make the other cast members corpse during the show and goes off script to achieve this. This adds to the show. He is so funny that even on a joke I may have heard before, he makes it sound fresh. I just adored him. His partner in crime co-star is Lee Mead aka Lofty from Casualty and Holby City, but he rose to fame as Joseph in the BBC Series Any Dream Will Do. I never caught Lee as Joseph so to hear him sing Any Dream Will Do in this year’s panto was truly a dream. It is worth the ticket price alone. What a wonderful persona he has. I can see why he has so many fans. I met him earlier in the year to interview him and he is truly a genuinely nice guy with a quiet charisma that envelopes you without you realising. He brings these qualities to the show and because of that, his role of Aladdin is one you will take to your hearts. He is the perfect Aladdin. Joe and Lee interacting together have a great relationship that works. They act just like brothers, constantly trying to wind each other up and this becomes almost a sub-text when as the audience you are waiting to see who will go off script next. Joe kept pulling down Lee’s hair and said it makes his face look like a fish. I think the Leeaholics may not like this, but Lee is a good sport and laughs along with us. And then there is the Busy Bee routine. Lee and Joe say this short poem and are supposed to squirt each other with water. However, of course both Joe and Lee laughed so much there was water all over the stage and they were choking on it. The audience loved this so much; we felt we are part of the joke. It’s real family comedy with nothing inappropriate and content suitable for all ages which is no easy feat.
But it’s not just the Joe and Lee show. This panto boasts a fabulous cast. David Robbins plays Widow Twankey and he is the perfect dame. The stunning outfits, the wigs, the make-up, the attitude – he is a veteran dame and it is really obvious with his confident and comfortable manner. A real star. Princess Jasmine was played by the lovely Tegan Bannister and she delivers in bucket-loads. She is sweet and unassuming and gives an innocent air to Jasmine. Lee and Tegan were so good I could almost ignore the age gap between them. There were many mishaps during tonight’s show which just add to the funnies. Widow Twankie lost her wig which to be fair was a massively tall wig. It was quickly remedied. Oh yes and Joe’s legs fell off. Not his real legs of course. When Lee tried to put them back on, he accidentally called Joe Joe instead of Wishee. Joe didn’t let this go and I was crying with laughter…you couldn’t make it up. It was so funny.
The big number was a version of Elton John I’m still standing which was a good choice considering Elton’s current high profile with his Rocketman film and recent documentary with Graham Norton. This is a fabulous show – it promises laughs galore, stunning singing and a real enjoyable night out.
Aladdin is on at Milton Keynes Theatre until 12 January 2020 Tickets available here. Best availability before Christmas: Friday 20th December at 7pm