The Lichfield Garrick has forged a great reputation over the last decade for the quality of its Christmas productions.
Every one has been a success and I have been lucky enough to see most of them.
I loved last year’s production Sleeping Beauty.
The Garrick declared the show its “most spectacular pantomime ever” and it was a fair claim.
However, I think this year’s offering Aladdin may have pipped it.
With fantastic sets, music and costume the audience is transported to the Orient where our financially-challenged handsome hero, played by Adrian Bevan, dreams of marrying the Princess Jasmine, CBeebies star Cat Sandion.
Her father the Emperor (Ian Billings) won’t let her marry anyone less than a prince so Aladdin determines to “make something of himself” and win her hand.
From there we follow Aladdin’s journey as he is taken in by the evil Abanazar (a sinister Robin Johnson) but is finally able to fulfil his dreams after wishes are granted by the Genie of the Lamp.
The genie (Cameron Johnson) is a big presence and he delivers a memorable performance full of energy and fun.
Also outstanding is Lizzie Wofford as The Spirit of the Ring.
With her Black Country accent and powerful singing voice she made a strong impression.
Aladdin is truly a family show and in the panto tradition offers plenty of jokes to keep the grown-ups entertained.
Much of the mirth is provided by the brilliant trio of Widow Twankey (Sam Rabone), Wishee Washee (Ben Thornton and PC Pongo (James Mitchell).
One particularly effective scene saw them slipping and sliding across the stage as they pondered what they would be doing were they not in old Peking.
And much of the audience get a bit damp in the ensuing action but I shall not say any more.
Music has been effectively worked into the show.
From Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk to Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town – there is more than enough to keep your feet tapping.
And a great scene involves the use of record sleeves to punctuate a conversation between Wishee and Widow Twankey – it’s very clever.
Director Tim Ford and his creative colleagues Paul Hendy, Emily Wood, Dave Culling, Ashley Nottingham, Mark Dymock and Martin Pritchard all deserve credit as does everyone associated with the show.
The sets, the music, the fun, the enthusiasm. The Garrick has pulled off yet another triumphant production – it’s a family Christmas cracker!
My young godson Samuel and his brother Joseph loved the show. I can’t really give it a better endorsement than that.
For tickets visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com