Are you even British if you don’t see a panto at Christmas time?! This age old tradition has had families flocking to theatres to participate in the antics, banter and fun of pantomime every christmas since it first appeared back in the early 18th century. Despite this historic treasure in our culture, there is something about panto that really makes me cringe and I find them a little stressful to watch! Infact, for years I have avoided them and have been totally fine with that. But, since having kids I could avoid it no longer and for the last couple of years, even I have been seen in audiences of Pantomimes – reluctantly shouting along and occasionally enjoying myself (very occasionally).
Last Tuesday the kids were nuttier than usual as they excitedly anticipated the long awaited evening to see this years Panto at Hull New theatre – Aladdin! It is all they could talk about and “wish for” and it has been something they’ve talked a lot about since too. Along with their Grandma, we joined the crowds of panto goers to catch some of the action (and Blues Simon Webbe – Hello!) and even I cracked a few smiles (mostly at the Hull jokes!) whilst they laughed their little socks off beside me!
Packed with all the traditional pantomime ingredients – silly jokes, extravagant costume, a villain, oodles of boos and hisses, a dame and popular music and dance – Aladdin gets top marks for everything you would expect and want in a pantomime; It was fun, glitzy and filled with curiosity for the kids. But at the same time it was not at all what I anticipated. It took me by surprise that this version is set in Old Peking over Agrabah and had none of the songs you might hope to hear. There were moments that felt a little flat or that for us crossed a line or 2 on the jokes front (rude/some were just a little insulting to people). Thankfully a lot of it went over the kids heads though and inspite of a few awkward moments, we appreciated the wonderful set, costume, choreography, song and overall humour of it all. It was very inclusive of the audience with plenty of energy, and had the kids attention throughout.
We had a really lovely night out together that was filled with a lot of laugh out loud moments for the kids and lots of shouting towards the stage and getting involved in it all from their seats (they just love it don’t they?). They really enjoyed following Aladdin, his brother Wishee Washee, his mother Widow Twankey and many others on a spectacular adventure. It was complete with a flying carpet in the second act, a giant wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and plenty of festive magic and fireworks!
I am not keen on panto, but I did have fun with the kids and I can’t deny that it was impressive overall and made for a fun family night out for christmas time! With generous discounts for groups, concessions and special rates for schools available for selected performances, why not get in touch with your true British-ness and book your seat today for this magic carpet ride adventure!
Thank you to Qdos entertainment and Hull New Theatre for inviting us along to review this. Our tickets were complementary in return for an honest review! Aladdin is on until the 29th December 2019 and Tickets are available HERE