Review: Aladdin puts an Oldham inspired spin on the classic tale

Yes, it’s Aladdin, but it’s not the one you know

This December, if you’ve heard about the well-loved Aladdin making its rounds at Oldham Coliseum and you’re thinking of re-living your childhood Disney dreams, or maybe you want to take the kids, then you might want to look again.

Yes, it’s Aladdin, but it’s not the one you know.

The pantomime is based on the classic story of Aladdin; however, it adds an Oldham inspired spin on things. 

Photo: Darren Robinson Photography

A refreshing element is the character of Aladdin, played by Shorelle Hepkin, who flawlessly captures the determined and adventurous spirit of the character.

The story begins in Oldham as our villain, Aunty Banazar (Liz Carney) begins her journey to retrieve the golden lamp, which contains the fabulously flamboyant Jinn (Marc Zayat) – all part of her diabolical plan to take over the world.

We then meet Aladdin’s larger-than-life mother, Widow Twankee (Richard J Fletcher), who owns an independent laundry which, due to the Emperor (Shaun Hennessy), is about to be closed down.

Of course, Aladdin and his jocular brother Wishee Washee (Sam Glen) aren’t going to let the emperor win that easily.

Photo: Darren Robinson Photography

The pantomime may be different to the original story of Aladdin, however the love story between Jasmine (Dora Rubinstein) and Aladdin is still very present; although, I can’t help thinking that the production missed a massive opportunity to make this a gay relationship whilst they were modernising the story. 

So, you’re probably wondering if the classic songs are part of this production, and to save any feelings of disappointment when you get there ready to belt out A Whole New World, there are’t any of the original Aladdin songs included – the cast do sing Sweet Caroline at one point, though. 

The whole production is filled with well-known pop songs, and you forget that you’re meant to be watching Aladdin when Ed Sheeran’s Shivers blasts around the room.

Photo: Darren Robinson Photography

The set design perfectly captures the colourful characters, as do the circus-like costumes; I found myself very impressed at the speed of some of the costume changes, especially with the intricate and detailed make-up.

Without a doubt, the whole show is a classic pantomime, from the colourful painted set, to the large, wig-heavy costumes, and plenty of gags; oh, and the kids will be laughing, too.

Aladdin is worth the money, especially if you’re looking to experience a fresh spin on old stories.

Regardless of the absence of anything Disney about it, the show itself will not disappoint.

Aladdin is at Oldham Coliseum until Saturday 8th January 2022. Tickets are available here.

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