The Playhouse


Pantomime: Aladdin

December - January 2017-18

A Peek-ing at Weston panto

REVIEW: It was corny, comical and clever…but I wasn’t sure whether the cast were keeping to a well lamp-oiled script or making it up as they went along.
Aladdin starring EastEnders Nasty Nick aka John Altman opened at The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare at the weekend and we loved it.
The laugh-out-loud moments came thick and fast from a young and young-at-heart audience, with good natured dad ‘Paul from Portishead’ sitting in the front row becoming the butt of many of the naughty jokes.
Oh yes there were some risqué moments, but sentences were left in mid-air so only the bigger people understood like the ditty about grass rhyming with arse.
However, in true pantomime style there are a few bathroom puns including one about a Chinese city called Onelongpoo and the ‘minger’ who was part of the Ming Dynasty.
An ad-lib moment at the Saturday matinee was when brothers Aladdin (Daniel Slade) and Wishee Washee (director Mike Goble) competed in stuff-as-many-marshmellows-in-your-mouth skit.
It took on all the elements of a hilarious bushwhacker trial from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here as they tried to find an untainted piece of confectionary as the plateful of puff had been accidently dropped onto the stage moments before.
The love story of a commoner marrying a royal made mention of Prince Harry romancing Meghan Markle and there were more local contemporary jibes with ‘dark, damp and dingy’ Bridgwater getting the usual unfair ridicule.
Another modern twist for technophobics is Welsh-speaking Collette Stewart as Spirit of the Ring appears in a puff of smoke always talking on her mobile.

Conversations abound about Siri and Fitbits used to monitor fat bits.
The magic carpet hologram sequence was really impressive, the costumes suitably garish and the sparkly scenery, bubble machine and tinsel cannon add to the festive feel.
Widow Twankee (David Rumelle) played a pantomime impersonator coming on as Dot Cotton accompanied by the dramatic EastEnders theme tune, wearing Dame Edna Everage face furniture and sporting lilac hair saying she was so rich ‘even the bags under my eyes are Gucci’ and as legs eleven Wonder Woman with Bridget Jones-size star-spangled big pants.
There was lots of audience interaction with red dragons, air crew and Keystone Cops racing up the aisles the latter squirting washer pistols at all and sundry.
With lots of well-known tunes from Ghostbusters to Babe – the mispronounced Abanazar belted out the I’m Evil rock song – who knew Nasty Nick could sing?
This is pantomime has all the ingredients for a family night out – the favourite character of the little girls in our party was Princess Jasmine (Rebecca Hazel) but Genie (Joseph Batchelor) was magic and the lovelorn Emperor of China (Gareth Davies) added gravitas to a show that is a giggle from start to finish.
Wishee Washee worked the crowd into a frenzy of fun and deserves a big hand.
The dancers were brilliant, and we were so pleased that Nailsea girl Summer Bird as part of Team Sapphire was among the opening night troupe.
Friends of the Playhouse were in the foyer on the way out with collection buckets and they interviewed our children on film asking questions about the performance.
All I could hear was ‘amazing, it was amazing, really amazing’ – I concur.

Carol Deacon

December 2017

BOX OFFICE                      For tickets from £19.95 with concessions click HERE

Nasty Nick stars as Weston panto villain

PREVIEW: Nasty Nick from EastEnders aka television star John Altman is more like Prince Charming in real life but on stage at The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare this December he is again playing the pantomime baddie Abanazar iin Aladdin.

This week the leading lights of Aladdin gave a sneaky ‘Peking’ preview to the Friends of the Playhouse and press to launch the traditional Christmas production.

Mr Altman and his co-stars Daniel Slade as Aladdin, Joseph Batchelor as the Genie, Rebecca Hazel as Jasmine, David Rumelle as Widow Twanky, Mike Goble as Wishee Washee were introduced by theatre regional Mark Thompson.

Then the Friends of Playhouse senior citizens in the audience (it was first day back at school for the children) became big kids as they were put through their pantomime paces of chapping, waving and being the butt of the jokes, which were flying thick and fast.

With Scandinavian good looks and an operatic voice Daniel Slade is currently appearing in the all-male Mikado UK tour, comedic Londoner Joseph Batchelor can sing, dance and perform magic and Rebecca Hazel who is cast in the pretty princess role is a ballet dancer, cheerleader and A Cappella singer who lists her additional skills as skipping and roller-skating!

For super trouper actor/singer with his own one-man touring show David Rumelle it is his 22nd year as a pantomime and the animated Mike Goble who started life as a holiday camp red coat is also a multi-talented all-rounder who can juggle, stilt walking and ride a unicycle. Mike is also directing the show.

Despite the briefest of rehearsals, the talent principals sang, danced, teased and performed a ‘find the lady’ card trick with aplomb.

And proving what professionals they are their show went on despite a roving mike coming unattached, the sole falling off a tap shoe and a necklace bauble rolling across the stage - if the preview was anything to go by it will be more than all right on the night it will be spectacular.

Mr Altman may not be the leading love interest but he is for me – articulate, friendly and professional much like the rest of the cast whose quick-fired responses to a Q&A session saw them act like a real band of brothers although this was the first time they had worked together.

They talk about age-appropriate humour and the fine line between a double entendre and jokes for youngsters and with slick delivery gave example which had the audience in stitches.

Joining the cast on stage will be a 12-year-old Nailsea School student from Jazz of Tap, part of Bedford Performers dance company run by Michelle Bedford.

Katie Evans who takes ballet, tap, modern and jazz classes with Miss Michelle was chosen from hundreds of boys and girls aged seven to 15 who auditioned for the Junior Ensemble teams at the weekend.

Aladdin runs from Saturday to Sunday, December 9-31.
Tickets from £19.95 with concessions for over 60s, children, family savers and parties of 10+.

There is an opening night special offer for the 5pm performance with tickets at £15.95. Click HERE to book.

Carol Deacon

September 2017