Well, darlings, we are simply at the DREGS of panto season, the very BOTTOM of the barrel, and if you’re scraping it looking for a few last sad laughs I can’t express what a SURPRISE you’re going to have if you manage to get one of the few remaining tickets for Get Aladdin at the Landor Theater, which was sold out SO FAR AHEAD way back in November, darlings, that I couldn’t find a single pair of tickets until all the way in January. Apparently people LOVE the Above the Stag pantos, and God knows I’d been trying to get into one for YEARS, but I’m really not that fabulous, you see, just some hack hag with a blog and theater fetish, and I was NOT their scene.
But there I was the Sunday after New Year’s anyway, keeping company with a VERY manly crowd that couldn’t help but remind me of my glory days back when I was 16 and used to spend the night boogieing away to Yaz and “It’s Raining Men” down at HotBods and Farrah’s in Phoenix, Arizona (yes, we’ve come a long way, baby). But it seemed VERY promising and I had a LOVELY companion with me with whom I was sure I could laugh uproariously at the most inappropriate things (yes, macing your ladybits when you thought you were using FDS was actually pretty funny in my book) and it seemed to me that we were going to have a GOOD evening.
Well, things initially seemed a bit ropey, what with the tawdry stage dressings and our single villain (Abanazar) looking like a milksop if ever there was one – he had the face of a young Rowan Atkinson and was parading around in a cheap pinstriped suit! Boo, hiss, BORING darling. And then the policewoman with her pre-PC Chinese accent – what century was this, anyway?
But then (at about the time the curtains were pulled away), things really started to come together. I mean, Abanazar was a bit comic as a bit of East End rough, but actually, a Chinese factory owner was perfectly situated to be a villain in today’s world; and our PC turned out to be an English lady pretending to be Chinese, thus doing it badly and making it a forgivable character trait rather than an incredibly inappropriate and racist directorial choice.
And oh, the gay! The lovely gay! Not only did we have a very sexy Aladdin, but his true love was the prince of the province of How Hung, whom the villain was also trying to seduce! And Widow Twankey was not JUST a dame but well and truly a Queen of the Drag, who perhaps didn’t have the kind of costumes she might have got with a bigger budget but had 10 times the personality of any of the dames I saw on stage this year. And so much witty banter! And SO much teasing of the audience!
Boys and girls, are we clear, this was a fabulous night out and top notch panto, unbeatable for raucous laughter, terrible puns, smutty innuendo, and … a finale with a hard hitting attack on modern day politics (let’s say it happens in London and ISN’T about female bishops) that was delivered in a 100% comic way that I found represented the best of British humor … laughing as we cry. Blow the bubbles, my cupcakes, and catch the sweeties (perhaps in your laps – ooh, I mean the genie of the lamp), and make sure that before January 13th you remember to Get Aladdin.
(To be clear I had just a wee bit to drink before I wrote this review and the spirit of the evening kind of took me away. Show seen 6 PM Sunday January 6th; it continues through January 13th.)