07 December 2011 to 31 December 2011
Jump on board the magical carpet ride to pantoland at the Palace Theatre, where we'll transport you to a world where everything sparkles and shines!
Widow Twankey, Wishee Washee, the Genie of the Lamp and the Slave of the Ring will be joining forces with our handsome hero Aladdin as they tackle the greedy, gruesome Abanazar.
Bernie Clifton - Wishee Washee
Marshall Lancaster - Abanzar
Rob McVeigh - Aladdin
Antony Stuart-Hicks - Widow Twankey
Victoria Scott - Princess Jasmine
International Illusionists The Renleah Experience - Slave of the Ring & Genie of the Lamp
PC Ping - Jake Lindsay
PC Pong - Drew Levi Huntsman
with the Tozer Dance Studio
Director: Peter Dayson Choroegrapher: Hayley Simmons Musical Director: Matt Marks
To see highlights from this year's launch visit our You Tube channel
The Palace Theatre is a beautiful, historic theatre, currently celebrating 96 years of showbusiness, so it was the perfect place to play host to one of the best versions of the children’s classic we’ve ever seen… Read more...
There is an abundance of colourful costumes, sensational sets, creative choreography, mesmerising music, silly slapstick and superb songs — appealing to all ages… Read more...
You don’t need to be a professional critic to know what to think about this year’s Palace Panto – Jane and Christine, sitting next to us in the rear stalls, summed up the audience reaction perfectly… Read more...
This fantastic pantomime has the lot - comedy, great music, a really strong cast of top performers, very good and topical scripting, super sets, excellent direction and choreography… Read more...
12 December 2011
The Palace Theatre is a beautiful, historic theatre, currently celebrating 96 years of showbusiness, so it was the perfect place to play host to one of the best versions of the children’s classic we’ve ever seen.
The star-studded cast included the fabulously funny Bernie Clifton, playing Wishee Washee, whose ability to wander off script and have his fun with the audience made the show for me, with Marshal Lancaster perfectly cast as Abanazar. The amazing costume changes of Widow Twanky, played wonderfully by Antony Stuart-Hicks tickled Tom in particular, especially the hilarious tea-cup dress he donned at one point. Aladdin, played by Rob McVeigh hit every note in his musical numbers with ease and he was a natural lead, holding much of the audience in the palm of his hand.
The singing and dancing in the show and the fabulous set changes, combined with the costumes brought a certain class to the pantomime as a whole. Too often pantomimes are ruined with cheap-looking props and an amateur-hour feel, but this was the real deal, truly something else.
The evening flew by and although my rugby-playing, typical 13-year old son thought he might be ‘too old to panto’ he couldn’t help but join in with the traditional bellows of “He’s behind you!” and “Oh no he didn’t!”, proving that you’re never too old to join in!
So let the Palace Theatre, Newark’s panto take you back to your youth, it’s well worth a visit! Book to avoid disappointment; the show runs until New Year’s Eve, so hurry!
11 December 2011
There is an abundance of colourful costumes, sensational sets, creative choreography, mesmerising music, silly slapstick and superb songs — appealing to all ages.
This is the fifth panto by Paul Holman Associates and it mixes all the traditional elements of the story with many modern touches and loads of audience participation.
A talented cast is headed by Bernie Clifton, Marshall Lancaster and Rob McVeigh, who put all their energy and enthusiasm into it, and there is never a dull moment.
The panto begins with a talking book revealing the treasures that await the evil Abanazar if he can find the boy Aladdin, and get him to retrieve a magic lamp from a dark and dangerous cave.
Marshall, in his first professional pantomime, is outstanding as Abanazar with a deep booming voice. He dubs himself the most handsome man in all of Newark.
Looking rather green around the gills he has the audience booing and hissing every time he comes on stage. He gets the audience to sing: “Oh yes, you are” to Come All Ye Faithful.
Rob is a likeable Aladdin and has a great singing voice, especially in Til The Sun Goes Down and Fight Fire With Fire. He is matched by Victoria Scott as Princess Jasmine, looking pretty as a picture and putting a powerful soprano voice to good use in The Sun And I. Their duet, Hey Baby, I Think I Want To Marry You, goes down a treat.
Bernie is undoubtedly the star of the show as Wishee Washee and has the audience eating out of the palm of his hands, with plenty of ad libs.
He teaches us how to do the Willie Carson jungle wiggle and we have to do that every time he comes on stage. He also gets us to look after a duck egg. If anyone goes near it we have to shout: “Don’t touch that crispy duck.”
Among the highlights are Bernie chucking a giant sausage roll into the audience, trying to deflate a gigantic deep sea diver, being joined by his ostrich, Oswald, in a dance routine, and singing a fantastic rendition of Nessun Dorma.
He works his magic when four children join him to perform Roger Jackson Had A Farm. One told him he was weird, while the other said the floor was sticky.
The ghost scene is hilarious, especially when the ghost trips on his costume and slides across the stage, with the cast and the rest of the audience laughing. It is so realistic that most people thought he had really hurt himself. I checked afterwards and was told it was all part of the show.
No panto is complete without a dame and Antony Stuart-Hicks, sounding rather like Lily Savage, wears a concoction of colourful outfits and wigs as Widow Twankey, including a China tea cup.
One of the highlights is her version of Jesse J’s Price Tag, backed by dancers from the Southwell-based Tozer Studios.
The children and dancers impress with their dance routines, choreographed by Hayley-Jane Simmons. They make a real impression dressed as mini ostriches.
Drew-Levi Huntsmen and Jake Lindsey provide much of the humour as the deep-voiced PC Ping and the red-faced, squeaky-voiced PC Pong. They run around the stage and get their legs taped together by Bernie just before a dance routine.
Lisa Hanman is comical as the Slave Of The Ring, always chatting away on her mobile phone, while elegant and all-powerful as the Genie Of The Lamp. She also gets to do some fire eating.
Steve Bruus as the Emperor of China sings: “Go Compare,” and gets us to say: “He is the very delectable, highly respectable, emperor Chop Suey III” every time he comes on stage.
The gala night on Friday, sponsored by Tallents, was three hours of pure entertainment. Aladdin, directed by Peter Dayson, is on until December 31 so catch it while you can.
16 December 2011
You don’t need to be a professional critic to know what to think about this year’s Palace Panto – Jane and Christine, sitting next to us in the rear stalls, summed up the audience reaction perfectly.
“That was absolutely brilliant!” said Jane (or was it Christine?), after apologising for noisily joining in all the fun and shouting their responses.
No apology necessary Christine (or was it Jane?) – full-blooded audience participation is what panto is all about, and the stars of Aladdin milk every opportunity with alacrity.
Any lingering audience inhibitions were dispelled when Bernie Clifton as Wishee Washee passed a giant inflatable sausage out over the heads of the audience, causing pandemonium as it progressed around the entire auditorium.
As the identical twin of Aladdin (Rob McVeigh), Bernie was first to point out the disparity in their ages (“How come I’m the only one in the family with a bus pass?”) and he handled the audience with all the comic dexterity you’d expect from a seasoned veteran who still gets a real kick from generating countless laughs.
“That was pure self-indulgence for me,” said Bernie at the after-show reception,” delighting in the fact that I’d picked up on his periodic mini-impressions of 1940s comedy star Robb Wilton.
Rob McVeigh pulled off the musical numbers with aplomb and he and Victoria Scott as Princess Jasmine made an appealingly romantic couple – even though the courtship goes from nought to marriage prospects with breakneck speed.
Ms Scott also revealed a delightful soprano singing voice when she gave a beautiful rendition of The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze from the Mikado as well as attacking pop numbers with brio.
Antony Stuart-Hicks as Widow Twankey threatened to steal the show at times in a spectacular succession of outlandish costumes and towering wigs, backed by a Scouse wit that had more than a touch of Lily Savage.
Mopping up the boos was TV’s Marshall Lancaster as the evil Abanazar, producing a booming voice and accent quite unlike anything we’ve heard in Ashes to Ashes are Life on Mars on the telly.
Lisa Hanman did a lovely double turn as the both Genie of the Ring (played as a chippie Brummie) and the Genie of the Lamp, while Drew-Levi Huntsmen and Jake Lindsay as PCs Ping and Pong plus Steve Bruus as the Emperor of China proved that this was a cast with no weak links.
The dancers and children from the Tozer Studios were excellent too and the whole production – costumes, sets and the sheer numbers on stage – comes across as a lavish spectacular, with magical special effects from The Renleah Experience as an added bonus.
Another bonus on press night (along with countless in-jokes aimed at main sponsors Tallents Solicitors) was about 30 minutes of ad-libs and some brilliant interaction between Bernie and kids from the audience, brought on stage just before the finale.
You might think that three solid hours of non-stop entertainment would be too much for most people, but on the night everyone leaving the Palace had a smile on their face. Director Peter Dayson has pulled off a coup.
The show deserves to be a sell-out, so whether you are eight or eighty, get along to The Palace for a great night out.
Aladdin runs at Newark PalaceTheatre until December 31. To book call the box office on 01636 655755, or goto www.palacenewark.com
22 December 2011
This fantastic pantomime has the lot - comedy, great music, a really strong cast of top performers, very good and topical scripting, super sets, excellent direction and choreography.
Bernie Clifton lives up to his star billing with his usual brand of mayhem and hilarity, but well up to the task of staying with him are the other cast principals - the really excellent Ash (Antony Stewart-Hicks) who plays Widow Twankey, the very good Rob McVeigh as Aladdin, Marshall Lancaster a dastardly Abanazar and Victoria Scott a superb Princess Jasmine.
The music is in the capable hands of musical director Matt Marks and percussionist Steve Farmer. Paul Daniels gets a credit too - even though he is not in the show, he did design and set-up the very good flying carpet effect.
Difficult to pick a highlight because this Paul Holman Associates production is one long highlight, however, Clifton seriously singing Nessun Dorma in the wedding scene is a total surprise and a fantastic bonus to this excellent show.
Holman rubbed a magic lamp and this brilliant version of Aladdin appeared. This must surely be among the leaders for panto of the year.