Aladdin, Thameside Theatre

Louise writes:

I took the kids to see Aladdin at the Thameside Theatre, starring ex-Eastenders star Dean Gaffney as Wishee Washee, Brian Belo (from Big Brother apparently) as the Genie of the Bling, and Wain Douglas as Widow Twanky. Thameside Theatre is quite a small but modern theatre and it was easy to see what was going on, even for little ones like my four year old and two year old.

The sets and lighting were very good, making the whole performance quite atmospheric – a little too much so for my son who found the evil wizard Abanazar a little too scary. We’ve had to reassure him since that it was ‘silly scary, not scary scary’ but I suppose is a credit to the performance! I wasn’t overly impressed with Dean Gaffney who seemed rather stiff and unengaging, though a lot of the kids in the audience seemed amused by him. The Genie and in particular Widow Twanky however were both very good. I’m not an enormous panto fan, to be perfectly honest, but I did find them both very funny. As someone who hasn’t watched Big Brother beyond the first series I didn’t know who Brian Belo was and groaned a little when realising he was someone from Big Brother, so it was a pleasant suprise that he was so amusing. I was also surprisingly impressed by the Slave of the Ring, played by Shonna Damms.

I think my two were a little too young for it as most of the pop culture references went over their (and my) heads, and they were not really sure what to make of a lot of it. Plus it was a late for them so they weren’t at their most receptive and quite fidgety by the beginning of the second half. However, based on the reactions of the other children in the (packed) audience, it seemed like they were really enjoying it, and there was a lot of the cast engaging with the crowd to keep them interested.

If you go, take a raincoat!


Aladdin runs at the Thameside Theatre until Jan 7th. See website for booking details

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