A trip to the panto is an annual Christmas tradition for many families, and the lovely thing about traditions is that they are comfortable and familiar, which is why it’s wonderful to see Aylesbury’s dream team – Andy Collins and La Voix – together on stage again this year.
Andy (best known to locals for his breakfast show on BBC Three Counties Radio) reprises his usual role of the village idiot as he plays Wishee Washee, Aladdin’s not-so-bright brother. And La Voix (recently seen in ITV’s Queen For The Night) stuns with both her saucy repartee and her numerous costume changes as Widow Twankey.
La Voix was as ever in great form, bringing some adult humour to keep the grown-ups entertained (and the two teenage boys who accompanied me who are mostly too cool for such things but who had a good giggle at the jokes they might not have understood a few years ago!).
Every panto needs a ‘name’ and this year it’s the turn of former EastEnders star Davood Ghadami (also of Holby City fame) who plays wicked Abanazar. But this baddie is not all bad – I almost felt sorry for him as he tried to show off his magic skills, which were more on a par with Tommy Cooper than Dynamo. Davood showed great comic timing and brought something different to the traditional ‘panto villain’ role.
The rest of the cast include some awesome vocal talent – notably the powerful voice of Spirit of the Ring Jenny O’Leary, the soft tones of Aladdin played by Kian Zomorodian and the sweet voice of Melanie Elizabeth’s Princess Jasmine.
The Genie was wonderfully flamboyant, thanks to Liam McEvoy – but he may need to improve his water gun survival skills if he wants to survive the next month of performances! Of course it wouldn’t be an Aylesbury panto without the 12 days of Christmas song and the yearly spectacle of Andy Collins chasing a bundle of toilet rolls around the auditorium and engaging in a water pistol fight with everyone (mums and dads included).
That’s the real magic of Aylesbury’s pantos, and this one is no exception. Fun, laughter, great music – and an effervescent joy for the ridiculousness that is panto.
Book your tickets now – and don’t forget the water pistols (and some change for the very worthy charity collection buckets as you leave)!
Naomi MacKay watched Aladdin at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – running until 2 January.
It’s also great to see that Aylesbury is offering a relaxed performance on 13 December at 10.30am for those who might struggle with crowds, and sensory issues. See more at www.atgtickets.com/shows/aladdin-relaxed-performance/aylesbury-waterside-theatre
Pic: Andy Collins and La Voix as Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey