HELLO MY LOVELIES!
Having been wowed by last years pantomime production of Peter Pan at De Montfort Hall – Leicester, I was excited to see if the latest festive offering would complete another amazing Christmas show enjoyed by myself and Brad!
All the essential ingredients were there: Christmas cracker-standard jokes, dazzling costumes, well-known songs, and most importantly, an enthusiastic cast who make you enjoy yourself through the sheer force of their broad smiles and exuberant delivery!
Talking of the cast, this year’s draws include past X Factor winner Sam Bailey, now in her fourth year starring in the De Montfort Hall panto. As a Leicester girl, many in the audience already know and love her. As So Shi, she does down-to-earth, relatable humour to a tee—and, of course, has a brilliant voice!
However I did have a few thoughts..
#1: There was no Abu!
Sadly for some fans *me*, Abu, Aladdin’s sidekick from the film is nowhere to be found! I understand that it would have been too difficult to incorporate a monkey, obviously! But I kept waiting for Abu to appear! Instead, the role was turned into a human character; Abu is replaced by ‘Wishee Washee’, Aladdin’s brother!
#2: The Panto was based in Peking, China!
Now I now that Aladdin is a folk tale of Middle Eastern origin and the original story, in both the Galland and the Burton versions, is set it in “one of the cities of China”. However I was really looking forward to watching the Disney’s adapted version seeing as the live-action film came out in 2019! However, having seen the panto and doing my research on Aladdin, I feel a lot more educated on the background of the folk tale!
#3: Wishee Washee was absolutely HILARIOUS!
Wishee Washee (Paul Burling—impressionist and Britain’s Got Talent finalist) gave us PLENTY of laughs and a variety of impressions, including Donald Trump, Jimmy Carr, Gary Barlow and Spongebob Squarepants! He also encourages the audience to get involved by joining ‘Wishee’s gang’ and shouting out every time he comes on stage!
#4: The magic tricks left us in AWE!
Matthew Pomeroy starred as Aladdin and Natasha Lamb starred as Princess Jasmine, and not only did they perform well, they are also professional magicians, whose talents in this field add an impressive extra element to the production!
Magic tricks are incorporated into the show, including two particularly ‘wow’-inducing acts towards the end! Firstly, Princess Jasmine is made to disappear from a box, and then made to levitate! Both tricks are truly incredible, and left me wondering ‘how on earth did they do that?!’
#5: Antony Costa starring as Abanazar!
He elicits boos and hisses from the audience as he swans around in his rather dazzling ‘Turban Outfitters’ ensemble, throwing insults at the crowd!
I like the way his boy band background is woven into the story, with various characters mistakenly thinking he was in McFly, Take That, Busted and Boyzone, before he made sure they were all aware he was, of course, in Blue – who, he reminded us, sold 16 million albums and represented the UK in Eurovision. (“Ok, we lost to Jedward, but you can’t be perfect”).
Incorporating ‘All Rise’ into the show is a gift for Blue fans such as Bradley, and both this and a version of the Queen song ‘I Want It All’ enable Antony to showcase his impressive vocal ability!
All in all, it was a good production! Minor criticisms from me, but they are just my personal opinions! If you get a chance, you should definitely check out Imagine Theatre’s production over the festive period, 2020’s Panto production is Sleeping Beauty!
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Have you been to see a Pantomime at De Montfort Hall, Leicester? If so, which one?
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This blog is NOT sponsored and all opinions are my own.