Review - Aladdin, Byre Theatre, St Andrews

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Swirling, flashing lights, a blast of Arabic music, a puff of smoke and the villain of the piece enters to a chorus of boos. Yep - panto season is well and truly under way!

Following last year’s excellent Cinderella, the Byre Theatre have once again come up trumps, with Aladdin being the choice for 2016.

Set in the land of far flung Fantasia, street rat Aladdin dreams of a better life for himself, his feisty sister Wishee Washee and his mum, the Widow Twankie.

After a chance meeting Aladdin and Princess Jasmine fall in love. Complicating matters somewhat is the evil sorcerer Abanazar who is intent on becoming Supreme Ruler of the World, as you do. But in order to do so he needs to enter the cavern of Wonders which can only be opened by the pure of heart i.e. Aladdin.

Eventually Aladdin and Princess Jasmine find themselves trapped in the cave. Will they escape? Will Abanazar succeed with his fiendish plan? And, most importantly of all, will Widow Twankie ever snog Gary from the audience?

The performances are excellent, the stage sets impressive, the songs and cheoreography tremendous fun and being set in such a small theatre, gives the whole experience a truly intimate feel.

But if there’s one thing that sets this particular panto aside, then it’s laughter. You genuinely won’t find a funnier night out this Christmas, which a testament to both the brilliance of the cast and the script (which is persistently strayed from in true panto style!)

Writer/director Gordon Barr is in his fourth year at the Byre and has panto down to a fine art.

Aladdin runs until New Year’s Eve, make sure you don’t miss it.