AL­ADDIN AT AB­ER­DARE COLI­SEUM

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“THERE is noth­ing like a dame,” so the song goes – and that’s cer­tainly true of this year’s RCT panto Al­addin.

Widow Twanky may be a stock pan­tomime char­ac­ter but few could have played it with such a joy­ous, OTT vi­va­cious­ness than Frank Vick­ery, pic­tured left.

When he’s not spend­ing his De­cem­bers dress­ing like an ex­plo­sion in a haute cou­ture fac­tory (and who­ever de­signs his out­fits needs plau­dits for the hi­lar­i­ous scope of their tech­ni­colour vi­sion), Vick­ery is one of Wales’ most ac­claimed play­wrights – his preter­nat­u­ral comic tim­ing as finely honed as his abil­ity to put words to a script.

In this in­stance, how­ever, it’s to bril­liant writer and di­rec­tor Richard Tun­ley who we must credit re­spon­si­bil­ity for piec­ing to­gether a beau­ti­fully con­structed knock­about romp which doesn’t let up from first minute to last.

As far as the story is con­cerned, this take on Al­addin is tra­di­tional panto fayre in ev­ery sense.

Lack­ing a big bud­get for spe­cial ef­fects like many big city pan­tos, RCT The­atres’ of­fer­ing re­lies on the strength of its writ­ing and the qual­ity of its cast.

It might be old school in that re­spect, but the story of Al­addin (Maxwell James) the son of the washer woman who finds for­bid­den love with Princess Jas­mine (Laura Cle­ments) is given a mod­ern makeover with plenty of pop cul­ture ref­er­ences for young and old alike.

It’s also a pure en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence with plenty of fa­mil­iar songs – from the world of pop and mu­si­cals, as well as some whips­mart chore­og­ra­phy – credit to young back­ing dancers the Take pART crew their lively per­for­mances here.

How­ever, it’s the slap­stick com­edy and won­der­fully funny turns from Vick­ery as Widow Twankey and his son Wishee Washee – played with an en­er­getic zeal by the be­daz­zling Ryan Owen, that el­e­vate this par­tic­u­lar panto to bril­liant new heights.

The farce is most def­i­nitely with them, as it is with bum­bling cop­pers PC Ping (Bri­die Smith) and PC Pong (Aled Davies), who both make for an ar­rest­ing sight.

When you fac­tor in not one but two most ex­cel­lent ge­nies – Ta­mara Brabon as the ge­nie of the ring and Dein­iol Wyn Rees as the ge­nie of the lamp, and a most vil­lain­ous vil­lain in the form of the wicked Abanazar, played by Lee Gil­bert – who frankly is so good in the role the boos ring out through­out his malev­o­lent show­ing, then this is a pan­tomime that ticks ev­ery box – and prob­a­bly some yet to be dis­cov­ered.

In a word, it’s ge­nie-us. (sorry). venues in­clud­ing Park & Dare in Tre­orchy un­til

The cast of RCT’s panto Al­addin on stage and, top, Frank Vick­ery as Widow Twanky

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