at the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich
A wok 'n' [spring] roll panto ?
Great ! But can we afford it ?
Well, we'd need a Twankey, of course. Aladdin himself, Abenazar, Genie of the Lamp, Wishee and Washee, the Beijing broker's men … [ only one ? doubling pantomime dragon with Aladdin ] A rocking band, backing singers …
If you've been amongst the happy punters at the Wolsey, you'll know how the riddle was solved.
Recession panto par excellence, with a multi-talented company of ten scarcely ever off stage.
Like the People's Republic of China, this was a democratic show.
Francesca Loren's agile monkey, for example, also played sax, trombone and an impressive trumpet in the old Orbison number [shades on, everyone] In Dreams.
And Julian Harries' disgraceful Dame also played keyboard – the ingenious live sound effects were also done on the synth.
Shirley Darroch's Genie had some of the best vocal moments. The most effective number dramatically was Close to You, with an outrageous vocal quartet in the wings.
Just occasionally I might have wished for more panto [there were few routines, and no laundry] and less music. But director Peter Rowe, who co-wrote this piece back last century, and MD Ben Goddard kept the forces mobilized from warm-up to instrumental encore. And Foxton's set, cleverly changing from street to palace, with lanterns, dragons and an old joke all of its own, was superb.