Review: Audience is roaring at truly excellent Leamington panto

Kai Owen in Aladdin at the Spa Centre.
Kai Owen in Aladdin at the Spa Centre.

Aladdin by Imagine Theatre, Spa Centre, Leamington. On until January 4. Box office: 334418.

The annual Christmas pantomime is as much as part of the festive line-up as sprouts, turkey and grandma nodding in front of the television.

And though usually met with tired groans from mums and dads dreading taking the children for another night of ‘he’s behind you’ as a confused dame makes lewd jokes, this year’s Spa Centre showstopper Aladdin is something completely and brilliantly magical.

The festive performance could not be a bigger hit for all ages, thanks to an excellent cast, a wonderfully enjoyable plot and jokes for everyone right from the start.

The age-old story of love and determination follows Aladdin, a poor street urchin desperately trying to win the love of the princess, as he strives for riches and battles the evil Abanazar - all with the help of larger-than-life genie and his impoverished washer family.

But stealing the show were the excellent Kev McGreevy and Kai Owen as Wishee Washee and Widow Twanky, as they worked their magic on the room and a few unsuspecting victims in the audience. The pair’s hilarious relationship on stage was infectious. Hugely funny from the off, they kept the excited children mesmerised right to the end.

This infectious energy was clear in the whole cast as the jokes continued and the fun being had on stage shone through the whole performance.

The odd slip up - including a hilarious lost beard - only made the night funnier for the already roaring audience as the characters bounced off each other to make the show their own.

Not forgetting the long-awaited choruses of ‘ooh yes he is!’ to get the children jumping up and down with excitement, the talented and heart-warming song and dance performances on stage and an impressive Chinese dragon routine. It all made for a truly excellent night.

Hannah Smith