Review: ALADDIN, Perth Theatre

Barrie Hunter’s playful fairytale is staged with dynamic design and engaging musical numbers, but the jokes lack edge.

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Review: ALADDIN, Perth Theatre

Review: ALADDIN, Perth Theatre Perth Theatre presents a Scottish twist on the classic tale written and directed by Barrie Hunter, who also plays Aladdin and Hank E's mammy Magarita McTwankie. In their humble abode of Killicrankie, the family are in a stressful spin trying to keep their laundry business afloat while the evil Countess Abigail McTwankie searches impatiently for the cave of pleasures, treasures and immeasurable measures.

Meanwhile, newcomer Heather sparks an intriguing conundrum in the search for a missing parent. The piece is enjoyable for children, but slightly misses the mark for adults.

The set design resembles mismatched purple and green Scottish tartan - a clever nod to the show's local charm with a funky twist. In true panto fashion, costumes, lights, video walls and sound combine to form a delightfully tacky array of colour. The flying carpet scene in particular is visually stunning. The dynamic design is strongly complimented by vibrant parodic musical numbers, including tunes by Taylor Swift, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain and even Queen.

However, the production feels let down by its long-winded storyline. Things pick up significantly in Act 2, but the beginning takes a while to get going. The humour is very much catered to children - nothing wrong with that, but it misses the subtle adult humour that makes pantomimes so agelessly enjoyable.

The actors did their best with what they had - Tiger Mitchell's Aladdin is immensely charismatic (particularly in his solo song), Euan Somers' Hank is charmingly daft and Helen Logan as Abigail is the ultimate super-villain. Barrie Hunter is a fabulous Dame and Kirsty Malone is a quirky, relatable 'Jeannie,' yet both don't have enough stage-time. The comedic highlights were the occasional off-script 'breaking the fourth wall' moments showing the cast's quick wit beyond the confines of the story.

The piece ties up with an important message showcasing a welcome new interpretation of Aladdin's story: instead of "wishing our lives away," we should "live in the moment." Although adults won't be laughing off their seats, it's certainly a fun one to occupy the weans!

Aladdin is at Perth Theatre until 31 December.

Photo Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic