Review: Aladdin and the Twankeys

praises York Theatre Royal’s festive offering

Playwright: Berwick Kaler
Director: Damien Cruden and Berwick Kaler
Venue: Main House, York Theatre Royal
Cast: Berwick Kaler, Martin Barrass, Al Braatz, Suzy Cooper, Sian Howard, AJ Powell, Jonathan Race, Danielle Mullan, Lauren Newton, Harry Hughes, James Tomlinson, Jake Lindsay and Faye Spooner.
Rating: ★★★★☆ stars

photo credit: York Theatre Royal

Photo credit: York Theatre Royal

Attending York Theatre Royal for one of their renowned pantos was a delight. It has been said that York produces the best pantomimes in the country and, although I’ve not travelled the nation, I can see why.

The comedy was first class, especially from York veterans: dame Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass. A favourite of mine was AJ Powell who play ‘Love-li’, the Genie of Bling and an array of other characters at the knock of his head, even believing he was a giant super fly at one point. I was also very jealous of his legs, when imitating Princess Peek-a-boo, you could not tell he was a man from behind. I need to find out his secret!

Friday 13th played havoc a little but that just added to the comedy (I would divulge into the exact mishaps but that would ruin the surprise). Berwick and Martin handled the glitches with comedic excellence, brushing over them by adding jokes. Personally it would not be bad if the glitches remained, it added to the humour and the openness of the performance.

Along with the classic booing and hissing when the evil Abanazar entered and the infamous “he’s behind you” sequence, which kept us involved in the performance. Evidently this format is going to create a different show every night but regardless of this you are bound to experience the best pantomime performance you’ve ever seen, throwing you back to you childhood. To appeal to all ages of an audience is an excellent quality and the cast of ‘Aladdin and the Twankeys’ did just that.

Not being from York originally put me at a disadvantage in regards to the York specific jokes, but I don’t believe that it hindered the performance in the slightest. I understood the majority of the local jokes. They also made light of current affairs, such as rising British Gas prices, meaning it wasn’t exclusionary. This meant the humour was fresh and up-to-date, demonstrating that panto is certainly not a thing of the past.

In sum it was an outstanding panto, most certainly the best I have ever attended. They didn’t hold back with the singing, dancing, extravagant set design and costumes. With the special effects leaving me dumbfounded, the floating boat to be precise. They even stayed up-to-date by using multimedia: voiceovers and film footage of the characters trawling through York lost. ‘Aladdin and the Twankeys’ certainly lived up to the outstanding record York Theatre Royal has. I look forward to seeing what they have in store for next year.

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