by Stewart Pringle
Where other venues are content to merely stage their pantomimes, the New Wimbledon fires it at you from a massive, glittering panto-cannon. ‘Aladdin’ is the epitome of the commercial, celeb-ridden Christmas show, and it’s totally irresistible.
It’s largely down to the sheer density of talent on stage. Alright, so Jo Brand looks like she’s on community service and the Genie of the Lamp’s some bloke off ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ that had the magic carpet pulled out from under his career when Michael Jackson died, but everyone else is golden. The brilliant Matthew Kelly must be dame of the season and Oliver Thornton, who started the year as Frank ‘N Furter in ‘Rocky Horror’, is perfectly, wonderfully gruesome in the toothy title role. Street dance troupe Flawless turn up inexplicably as the Peking Police Force and are so good they almost outshine Matthew Rixon’s hilarious Major Pong. It’s all very loud, pretty rude, not even slightly politically correct and extremely funny.
It’s hard to be critical when you’re having a billion megawatts of Christmas cheer burned into your corneas. The Lyric Hammersmith may be quirkier, Hackney panto’s got the charm, but with enough pizzazz and pyrotechnics to take your face off, Wimbledon wins the arms race.
Written for Time Out