The New Wolsey’s Christmas pantomime is always a treat and this year’s Wok ‘n’ Roll production of Aladdin is no exception. From the opening scenes, it’s fast paced, colourful, loud, full of funny jokes and of course there’s some fantastic music.
Great scenery and special effects, a high gags per minute count, plenty of interaction with the audience - New Wolsey’s Aladdin ticks almost all the boxes. Unfortunately, a grating insistence on over-cooking the pratfalls and double takes - enough already with the accidental knockout punches - means that just occasionally there are spells when this show seems like hard wok.
The songs may not be the most original and the jokes are out of the Ark but there’s no denying that Peter Rowe’s and Alan Ellis’ Rock & Roll Pantos remain popular with the public during these cash-strapped times and bring in much needed revenue.
Set in Ancient China, the classic story of Aladdin, a peasant boy in love with the beautiful princess, is given a ‘Wok’ and roll twist with corny jokes and recognisable fun loving songs.
If it seems what is being said is interesting, children – even excited ones in a pantomime audience – will hush-up and listen. The first character in Aladdin whom we meet is a storyteller (Harry Myers, doubling the role of the Emperor) and his rhyming couplets explain why we join the story at this particular point. As for its eight predecessors, this rock’n’roll show has a small cast of highly accomplished actor-musicians and a whole laundry-basket of stage effects and trickeries.
WOLSEY ALADDIN SERVES A WOK 'N' ROLL TREAT
WOK ‘N’ ROLL PANTO IS FULL OF FLAVOUR