Travel to China with Touchwood in this year’s pantomime, Aladdin. In traditional panto style Aladdin was played by a female, Lauren Gordon. She played alongside Heather Foulkes as Jasmine. They blended their voices beautifully during their romantic duets.
The musical aspect of this show was incredibly strong with correctly pitched harmonies in many of the songs and a refreshing and creative orchestra. The choice of songs was well thought out. I particularly enjoyed the clever sentiment behind Touchwood’s rendition of ‘Chinese Laundry Blues’.
The writer made the most of the laundry setting with a hilarious sequence involving mishaps such as Wishee Washee (Graeme Nott) mangling his hands and Sing Lo (Lianne Nash) and Kung Foo (Jane Hooper) being shrunk in the washing machine. According to Widow Twankee’s (Hugh Price) terrible jokes Kung Foo the pet Panda, caused a big pandemonium.
The two magical characters did bring a sparkle to the production. The Genie of the Lamp (Simon Uff), dressed in pink was as camp as they come. This made his character very memorable and his rhymes even funnier. The Spirit of the Ring (Natalie Ratcliff) had very entertaining purposeful mishaps with casting her spells. She was a character we instantly fell in love with.
The dancers, young and younger performed an entertaining ballet dressed as bats in Aladdin’s cave. This was well choreographed and executed.
At times sound levels were an issue as the singers’ voices were lost in the music for example ‘In the Laundry’ was a clever song but the audience couldn’t hear many of the lyrics. Touchwoods ensemble members could have been a little more enthusiastic and the pace of the show could have been faster.
Overall Touchwood included all the ingredients needed for a light hearted pantomime.