Review: Pop stars shine in Aladdin at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre

Liz McClarnon and Lee Brennan in Aladdin at Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre.
Liz McClarnon and Lee Brennan in Aladdin at Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre.
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Bodyshakin’ pop stars make fans of 911 and Atomic Kitten feel Whole Again with a dazzling performance in panto.

Lee Brennan and Liz McClarnon are the big names in Aladdin at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre, delivering their smash hits and covering others by current artists.

The leading lights are well paired as energetic Aladdin and pretty Princess Jasmine, a charismatic couple whose duet, Perfect Strangers, is one of the standout songs of the show.

Covers of hits by Scissor Sisters and Justin Timberlake, a reworking of Rose Royce’s Car Wash, a medley including Ladies Night and More Than A Woman and a tremendous operatic solo from Christopher Howard in the role of Emperor cater for most musical tastes.

Greg Ashton shines as fabulous Welsh dame Widow Gladys Twankey in scene-stealing spots of twerking and belly dancing. The dame parades a large number of costumes with the best saved until last which is topped off with a rather straight replica crooked spire.

Father and son Keith and Ben Simmons bring good, clean, old-fashioned fun to the show in their roles as comical coppers. At the performance I saw, Simmons senior was left hanging in mid-air attached to a rope before being rescued by his son who dashed off stage to lower him, then tripped his dad up as he stripped him of his harness.

That incident was far more entertaining than Aladdin’s magic carpet ride, which is a big let-down. The carpet rises just a couple of feet above the darkened stage, with Lee’s singing of Good Grief proving the scene’s saving grace.

Michael Garland is a hiss-worthy wicked uncle Abanazar and Aaron Spendelow is a delightfully over the top, kooky Slave of the Lamp.

James Dangerfield seems rather underused in his role as Wishee Washee, a character normally charged with revving up the crowd. And there’s the rub with this production - a shortage of audience interaction. There’s no catchphrases, no-sing-song, just a couple of opportunities to shout ‘he’s behind you.’

There’s still plenty of dates ahead to catch Aladdin which shines on at the Pomegranate until January 3.