I visited the New Wolsey Theatre for the first time ever to watch their rock pantomime, Aladdin. My boyfriend and his family, who accompanied me, have been going for over a decade and instilled me with confidence that the show would be great. Luckily, they were right!
The stage itself was very impressive. There were different levels, balconies and a few surprises that I won’t ruin here. Other pantomimes I’ve been to usually have the stage quite raised up so they can place the band in front of it but, as the actors all do the music on stage, it wasn’t and that made me feel like I was a part of the show. Speaking of, yes, all the actors when not acting (and sometimes even when they are) play instruments ranging from electric guitars to trumpets. It’s a bit odd at first but you get used to it and it does make the show unique.
The comedy was almost entirely successful. If there were any mistakes, the performers always saved it with comedy afterwards. There’s a running gag about Abba and I for one appreciated it every single time it happened. The highlight though was the dame, Widow Twankey, as played by Cameron Johnson. Her introductory scene is the funniest part of the whole show and she also gives a hilarious performance of ‘I Will Survive’. I plan to make the New Wolsey panto a festive tradition and hope that Johnson returns in the dame role.
The whole cast is also good though and so are the songs. There’s a good mix of music and most of the songs were over ten years old. As much as I like pantos implementing recent hits into their shows, the panto I went to last year had four songs from The Greatest Showman… four!
I loved this show and I recommend it. Anyone looking for something fun to watch next festive period should check out whichever pantomime they’re doing at the New Wolsey Theatre. But beware! Getting the audience right at the front wet is apparently a regular feature. There’s also bubbles so try not to get distracted by the iridescent orbs of water like I did.