By Michelle Rawlins
This hysterically funny panto at Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre, in the heart of West Yorkshire, does exactly what it should – it makes you raucously laugh out loud, spontaneously sing your heart out and almost jump out of your seat to shout ‘it’s behind you.’
From the moment the curtains are lifted, it goes at full throttle, bursting with comical capers, child friendly one liners and the silliest of silly scenes.
The well loved story, directed by Joyce Branagh and superbly written by Andrew Pollard, comes to life with more farcical sequences than you can wave a stick at.
There’s a crazy tongue twisting scientific genie, who zooms on and off the stage to eye-popping smoke explosions, a spectacular and technically impressive flying carpet that seems to defy nature which is an absolute highlight of the show.
What may come a close second for the younger viewers though is an absolute must for this year – a Baby Shark dance off. Love it or hate – your kids will be bouncing on their seats!
But this shouldn’t be the main focus of this incredibly well scripted seasonal production.
As well as the necessary colloquial jokes, side-slapping sequences, it’s clear the cast work incredibly hard to ensure the audience are fully engaged from beginning to end.
Much loved Dame, Robin Simpson, who plays the extremely dry-witted Widow Twankey, could host this show alone on his very telling and superbly funny facial expressions.
He knows exactly how to keep this fast paced action show flowing and is supported by a family feel type cast, alongside a young local chorus that gives this wonderful panto a ‘hard not to love’ personal touch.
Special mention must also be given to Alyce Liburd, who makes a feisty no-nonsense Princess – it’s no surprise Aladdin (Thomas Cotran) is willing to travel the world to win her heart.
Richard Hand, playing the token baddie – Abanazar, effectively encourages the necessary ‘boos’ and keeps the atmosphere electric.
There’s a nod to local Star Trek legend Patrick Stewart and comedy genius Tommy Cooper, as well as a ‘can’t fail to include’ ‘Don’t stop me now’ tribute to Queen and an infectious rendition of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, that leaves the audience swaying in their seats.
For a small town production this ridiculously silly show has a big heart and it’s easy to see why year on year it pulls in the crowds.
Showing until January 6 2019
Tickets: £12.50 – £18.50
A family saver ticket of four tickets for £60.00is also available (terms apply)