Aladdin – Bradford Alhambra

IT’S THAT time of year again when the Bradford pantomime takes over the Alhambra Theatre and entertains thousands of families over the Christmas period.

At the helm again, and in his 20th year, is our very own Billy Pearce taking the role of Wishee Washee.

He is ever-present throughout the whole performance and his never-ending energy is infectious – you can see why he is wanted back year after year.

Billy is like a comfortable pair of slippers: you know what you’re going to get, and yes, some routines have a very familiar feel but that’s where the comfortable part comes in.

Knowing that my girls Maisy, nine, and Grace, five, worship him, then he is definitely doing something right.

Add to the mix some of panto royalty in the guise of Christopher Biggins whose outfits were nothing short of amazing, then add a dash of boy band with Simon Webbe from Blue as a smooth principal boy as Aladdin.

I really enjoyed Emily Beth Harrington as Scheherazade, Slave of the Ring, and her singing of Defying Gravity.

The magic carpet performing its loop-the-loops was a big highlight in this very entertaining show.

David O’Mahony was a good villain, and I loved the interaction during the Chinese Whispers routine which had the audience in stitches. Sarah Goggin was a delightful Princess Jasmine.

Some negatives though – the Genie although impressive didn’t have enough impact and was a little lost in the story;, the 3D scene is way to scary and I’m sure 50 per cent % of children don’t watch it; and I really missed a slapstick scene in Twankee’s laundry.

But this didn’t spoil a very enjoyable evening of family entertainment.

I’ll be playing Wishee Washee myself when Keighley Musical Theatre Company presents Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp at Victoria Hall in January.

• Aladdin, Bradford Alhambra, until January 20. Visit or call 01274 432000 to book tickets.

Christopher Biggins is one of the best-known panto dames in the UK, since first donning the frock in the mid-1980s. He last performed at the Alhambra Theatre 30 years ago.

The cast of Aladdin also includes the Sunbeams, children from the Keighley-based Sara Packham Theatre School.

Dean Harness