Review: Slapstick and magic as family festive treat flies to Peking

Aladdin at the Belgrade. Picture by John Hipkiss
Aladdin at the Belgrade. Picture by John Hipkiss

Aladdin, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry until January 10.

If Iain ‘Laughin’ Lauchlan doesn’t enjoy his time in Pantoland, he’s the best actor I’ve ever seen. But I feel fairly safe that he and his co-star Craig Hollingsworth have a ball.

Their Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee double act is the stuff of dreams. And William Finkenrath gave them a run for their money as the Emperor of China in a brilliantly funny performance.

Aladdin is set in old Peking so Widow Twankey’s Chinese laundry makes a lot of sense. The slapstick of Dame and son doing the washing with an unsuspecting accomplice getting a foam bath is very funny.

Princess Jasmine, Aladdin and the ‘little people’ have plenty to do, and baddie Abanazer is suitably nasty. The spirit of the ring and genie have their own story as lovers who can only meet every couple of thousand years.

The funniest bit for me was a cheeky rewrite of the twelve days of Christmas where five gold rings had become five toilet rolls and found their way all over the auditorium.

There’s plenty here for all the family: magic flying dragons, sumptuous set, costumes to die for, great songs. Three hours in the company of Iain Lauchlan whistles past.

Rating 9/10

By Jane Howard