Theatre review: Westfield Folkhouse's hilarious take on panto classic Aladdin is simply magic

Westfield Folkhouse's adaptation of Aladdin at Mansfield Palace Theatre
Westfield Folkhouse's adaptation of Aladdin at Mansfield Palace Theatre

It’s still panto season . . . oh yes it is!

Yes, the Christmas decorations maybe gathering dust in the loft once again and we’re edging ever closer to February – but don’t tell anyone at Westfield Folkhouse that Santa has long been and gone.

Oh yes he has!

For once again, as per usual, the group has pulled out all the stops to produce a panto to remember.

And Westfield’s unique take on panto classic Aladdin has something for everyone, young and old.

The production is packed with glitz, glamour and the usual slapstick humour – with hapless duo, police officers Sergeant Rick, played by Brandon Stafford, and Inspector Shaw – Dave Gell – at the heart of the on-stage, madcap antics.

The pair have long been favourites of the Palace audiences, who turn up in their droves each year to banish the January blues and enjoy three hours or so of quick-fire one liners.

I say it every year, but it is always unfair to single out individuals in productions like this, but it’s difficult not to highlight Stafford – who doubles up as the panto’s producer – and Gell for their brilliant efforts.

The chemistry they have is there for all to see and they have the audience in raptures from the minute they enter the stage.

However, there are other stars of the show. Martin Belcher once again dazzled as Widow Twankey. I lost count at the number of costumes Belcher donned as the man-hungry Mrs Twankey, while a touch of glamour was added by Kaylie Malome, as Aladdin, and Paige Nussey as the Princess.

No panto would be amiss without topical jokes, and they came aplenty with Theresa May, Brexit and Mansfield market all the subject of witty one-liners.

But, once again it was poor old Shirebrook which was the butt of many jokes.

There was also time at the end of the panto for a good old, fashioned sing-along with the audience – which of course was led by those rascals Stafford and Gell.

Throw in the usual mix of song and dance as well as some stunning sets and fantastically flamboyant costumes and you have the perfect ingredients for a great panto.

Of course, a special mention must also go to the youngsters from dance schools Christine March School of Dance, Lisa Gail Theatre School, Razzamataz and the Syncopation School of

Performing Arts.

- Aladdin is on at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre until Sunday. Register interest for tickets for the group’s landmark 80th anniversary pantomime next year via its Facebook page or by emailing WestfieldFHpantomime@outlook.com