(Enter evil, grumpy Theatre Critic)
A chorus of boos.
Pffft! Christmas. And so here it is. It’s that time of year again. One evening you drift to sleep in the warm, secure bosom of freedom-loving bonnie Scotland. Only to discover the following morning, having furiously rubbed away at your disbelieving, blurry eyes, that somehow, with the rising of the sun, you find yourself living in what can only be judged as a one party state. Overnight, your blissful and democratic world has been replaced with a sinister, authoritarian dictatorship. You can’t go anywhere without listening to the same music. You can’t go anywhere without hearing about the great leader and his son. All broadcasts, jokes and references lead you to nothing but the realisation that, somehow, in the mystery of the night, you wound up in North Korea. And the worst of all of this? Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to venture past your local theatre. For there is only one show in town anymore. That’s right. It’s the dreaded panto.
But, being the intrepid reviewer that I am, I take on this wicked force of evil for my dear comrades. The good people of Edinburgh deserve to know the truth and I, a lone voice in a crazy world, will expose this treachery for what it is.
Firstly, let’s get the surface out of the way. Aladdin is indeed an entertaining yarn. The performances are big and bouncing, the music sets the feet tapping and the set is bright and beautiful. If you were to ask a child what they thought of the show they’d probably tell you that it was magical. And indeed it was. But don’t fall for its seemingly innocent spell, for there are things going on here that are not quite right.
Many were probably too busy laughing to notice, but did it not alarm anybody how easily Aladdin and the princess fell in love. They had never met before and yet, upon setting eyes upon each other, they are ready to marry. Nothing to do with personality, shared values, etc. None of that. If you are pretty, I will fall in love with you. Call me old fashioned, but what a terrible thing to be telling to children. But it gets worse. If you are a man and considered unworthy, not to worry. You can simply buy your woman. In fact, fortune will solve all of your problems according to this innocent little evening out.
(Enter the great, handsome Theatre Critic)
A mighty cheer!
Of course, you cannot help but smile from beginning to end to this wonderful, wham-bam-tastic production. It zips along at lighting pace, with wit and wild excitement. The jokes pop like fireworks around the stage and there is plenty to enjoy for the adults as well as the children.
Don’t listen to the grumpy theatre critic above. There is nothing for him but a great Boo and Hiss! Christmas is a time for fun and laughter and Aladdin has all of that in bucket loads. Grab yourself a ticket and pop along to the Kings Theatre for the best night out of the season.
Audience applause. Curtains fall.