Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Wolverhampton Grand to see their spectacularly star-studded pantomime.
Boasting infectious energy, it is a slick and pacy production with stunning special effects, and a hilarious combination of characters. Telling the story of Aladdin (Joe McElderry) , a young boy in Old PeKing who has fallen in love with the princess Jasmine (Lucy Kay), although her mother (Doreen Tipton) doesn’t give her permission to marry him unless he is rich. So he stumbles across a magic lamp, that makes all his dreams come true.
Leading the stellar cast, Joe McElderry brings sweet charisma to the role of Aladdin. His vocals are sensational, as each number is a an absolute delight. After previously starring as Joseph in the UK tour of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat alongside Lucy Kay, their chemistry is beautiful as their vocals blend together masterfully.
A pantomime needs its dame, and you can’t get better than panto icon Ian Adams who stars as Aladdin’s mother Widow Twankey. Introducing himself with his classic musical theatre number I Don’t Care, he is so natural and his performance is effortlessly funny. Standing out as the star performer, Adam C Booth shines as Aladdin’s brother Wishee Washee. He has the audience howling with laughter at his foolish nature as he bounces around the stage with exuberant energy.
Generating a lot of the laughs, Doreen Tipton gives a tremendous performance as the Lazy Empress, her constant references to the Midlands had the audience in fits of laughter, but it is her faultless characterisation that steals the show.
Loose Woman and Strictly Come Dancing star Lisa Riley takes to the stage as the glamorous Slave of The Ring. Her dialogue is witty and her characterisation is incredible expressive – creating a character that brings heaps of energy to the production. Similarly, Stefan Pejic plays the evil Abanazar, and his depiction of the panto villain is spot on. Finding the perfect balance of evil and funny, he puts everything into his bellowing voice and sinister stares, creating sublime stage presence.
The multi-talented Neal Wright performs the role of The Genie of the Lamp, his tone is flawless as he emulates the extravagant character of the Genie we all know and love with his highly animated voice. Cbeebies favourite Mr Bloom Ben Faulks excellently captures the authoritative, but slightly stupid PC Ping Pong.
With a slick ensemble, catchy songs and a witty script, Wolverhampton Grand’s pantomime is everything a panto should be and more. It has all the production elements of a high-quality show, but remains true to panto style with the importance of fun being at it’s core. With a sprinkling of hilarious improv and clear, genuine chemistry within the cast, it isn’t one to be missed.
On at the Wolverhampton Grand until the 22nd of January, tickets can be found here.