Review: Aladdin steals a march on Star Wars film release in an out of this world panto

James Holmes as the Dame in Aladdin  at Buxton Opera House
James Holmes as the Dame in Aladdin at Buxton Opera House

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the biggest film on the planet this season taking lads and their dads on an intergalactic adventure.

In a masterstroke of timing, an out of this world party which the whole family can enjoy has been cleverly factored into the pantomime Aladdin which opened to a 700-strong audience at Buxton Opera House this afternoon (Saturday, December 12).

Sci-fi fans are transported to seventh heaven as the panto dame becomes Princess Leia in a Star Wars sketch followed by Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek. Elsewhere, James Holmes, who plays Widow Twankey, brings the house down as he plasters a member of the audience with lather and tries to upstage the princess in an Arabian dance.

Kelsey Beth Crossley is every inch the pretty Princess Jasmine with a singing voice to match and beautiful costumes that twinkle and tinkle as she dances and skips across the stage. Her signature solo Flashlight is a cue for the kids to wave colour-changing lamps, fairy wands and light sabres.

Graham Macduff is likely to be the best-dressed baddie you’ll see this season and he belts out a mean version of Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life as he rocks the role of Abanazar.

Alex Lodge brings charisma and energy to the role of Aladdin, matched by Danny Childs who plays Wishee Washee. Both get the panto off to a rousing start with this year’s panto staple, Uptown Funk.

The choice of songs is as fresh as the script with Olly Murs’ Right Place Right Time, Major Lazer’s Blow A Kiss Fire A Gun and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off going down a storm with the younger generation.

Zoe Littleton is totes amazeballs as the Essex-girl slave of the ring Layla and hits it off with the audience while Stuart Turner adds to the laughs in his role as snobby, champagne-quaffing Genie.

Traditionalists will enjoy the spook and bench scene where the song of choice is Always Look On The Bright Side and an audience singalong of The Music Man.

However, the magic carpet ride lacks the wow factor and is the only low point in an otherwise first-class panto.

Aladdin is running at the Opera House until January 2, 2016.