Aladdin and his Magic Lamp

Dates and Venue 19 December 2008-3 January 2009 @ 7.00 p.m. Dec 19, 20, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30, 2008 Jan 2, 3, 2009 and 2.00 p.m. Dec 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 2008 and Jan 1, 3, 2009 | Metro Theatre, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The ever-prolific Johnny Duncan, who has been writing and directing the British pantomimes at Metro Theatre for the past ten years, gives us an update to this pantomime he previously presented in 2001, ever faithful to the traditional panto of corny one-liners assisted by drum rolls and cymbal bangs, creating original lyrics to Broadway and popular hits like Anything Goes, It's A New World, I've Got Rhythm, Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, etc. as well as entertaining us with song-and-dance routines choreographed by Dawn Ewen.

As in any panto, there is music, dance, audience involvement, and the Christmas spirit that makes this spectacle an enjoyable and entertaining holiday show for young and old.

This panto takes place in Old Pekin where Aladdin Twankey (the talented Amber Shikaze) is pursued by the villainous Demon Distastely, played tastefully by Trent Glukler, amidst boos and hisses from both children and adults who cheer whenever Fairy Tu-Tu (Natalie Aspinall) appears to the rescue.

Meantime, Aladdin's brother, Wishee Washee (Matthew Fedorowicz) plays the bumbling idiot with grace, and as in the traditional panto, where men play female roles, Widow Twankey (Chris May) plays the mother with such good pace.

Naturally, the villain is the star of the show, and Glukler has been branded the Hot Dog Demon in almost all if not all these pantos presented by Metro. His timing is spotless.

Emperor Pun-Pun (Tony Bordignon) is constantly punning with his one-liners to the drum rolls and cymbals, and as one of the actors commented, "This is a panto. You're supposed to laugh!"

In his programme notes, Duncan says that today the pantomime is "filling a cultural gap", and indeed, Canada is becoming more and more a multicultural mosaic where first generation Canadians are a mix of the world.

Congratulations to the cast and crew for letting go of our inhibitions and getting into the swing of this festive season.

© 2008 Ed Farolan