Ipswich Regent: Aladdin is a real Christmas cracker of a pantomime

Enchanted Entertainment's 2015 Ipswich Regent panto is Aladdin, starring Paul Daniels

Enchanted Entertainment's 2015 Ipswich Regent panto is Aladdin, starring Paul Daniels - Credit: Archant

You’ll like this panto, not a lot, but...loads!

This year’s Christmas pantomime at the Ipswich Regent, Aladdin, is a real cracker - the best I’ve seen in years.

With a cast of well-known faces including magician Paul Daniels, as the Emperor, the lovely Debbie McGee as Slave of the Ring, X-Factor’s Andy Abraham as the brilliantly funky Genie of the Lamp, it totally captivated my family (a two-year-old, a five-year-old and two 30-somethings).

The story of Aladdin is well-known - ultimately a love story between poor Aladdin (Ciaran Joyce from CBBC’s Tracy Beaker) and Princess Jasmine (Disney Channel presenter and West End Star Samantha Dorrance).

Aladdin gets tricked into fetching a magic lamp from a cave in the Mountains of Myth by the wonderfully-wicked Abanazar, played by Chris Stanton from CBBC’s M.I. High, who fails to tell Aladdin that once he has delivered the lamp, the cave door will shut within 60 seconds and trap Aladdin for all eternity (cue evil laugh, and much booing from the audience).

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Doomed from the start, poor Aladdin gets trapped in the cave (oh no), but with a little help by Slave of the Ring, he discovers the lamp (hooray) and - puff - with three rubs the Genie appears.

And my, what an entrance. Showcased by a 70’s medley and Uptown Funk, the Genie - and his flares and afro - struts his funky stuff all over the stage.

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With some calamities along the way, plenty of slapstick, and blooming great songs, the boy finally gets the girl and they all live happily ever after, of course.

The cast is incredibly strong this year, even the children in the dance ensemble. For the first show on it’s run until January 3, it was very sleek and, apart from a minor hitch with the set outside the magic cave, faultless.

Someone very worthy of a mention was Wishee Washee played by super-talented Andrew Fleming, who reached the semi-finals of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent. He is a very gifted mimic, whose impersonations (Michael McIntyre, Alan Carr, Keith Lemon) were totally brilliant. Quick-witted and instinctively-funny, he kept the one-liners rolling and the audience in stitches.

I expect some brilliant ad-libbing as the shows go on.

Mention must also be made of the great live band.

Oh, and watch-out for Aladdin’s magic carpet ride - it will wow the children and leave grown-ups trying to figure out just how they did it.

This is the 5th successive show for producers Guy Pascall and Jezz Weatherall from Enchanted Entertainment and having watched the other four, I think this year’s effort wins.

A real family-pleaser.

The show runs from December 19 until January 3. Tickets available at www.ipswichregent.com

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