Review – Aladdin: A flying carpet ride

Each member of the cast soars in this production, though it takes a strange approach to the Middle East

Venue: Everyman

Date Reviewed: December 22nd, 2015

Website: everymancork.com

Phone: 0214501673

Tue, Jan 5, 2016, 18:16

   

****

Everyman, Cork

Director Catherine Mahon-Buckley hits all the high spots in this production of Aladdin, probably because she has a marvellous back-up team at her command. Lee Matthews as Aladdin himself, Fionula Linehan as his sister Abrakedabra, Keith Hanley as the rap-running Genie, Michael Sands as the evil Abanazar (whose minute minion Robyn Morrissey packs a little punch of her own), Ram Gregorio as the Sultan, Amy O’Sullivan as Yasmin and Ciaran Bermingham as the Widow Twankey are all completely and tunefully committed to the story and their part in it.

But these are only the front line of a pantomime that displays the wonders of the hidden artists. The dazzling costumes designed by Jessica Healy with Ann Burton as costume mistress; the lighting design by Tim Fehilly which spreads a giddy dazzle of its own; Olan Wrynn’s set which, although sometimes less than solid, conveys atmosphere through visual detail; above all the magic carpet that thrills the capacity audience to momentary silence. These are the backbone of a delightful show in which the comedy is organic , growing from the gleeful interaction of the characters.

It’s a pity that Bermingham’s strong stage presence as a loudly traditional Twankey is diluted by errant timing, and that unbalanced sound control allows the band led by Eamon Nash to overwhelm speech and challenge singers, although it is a terrific accompaniment to the agile dance teams and choruses. There is some discomfort with the plot, which is set in the Middle East (a location to which writer Martin Higgins takes a free-range approach): jovial references to beheadings and how they should be performed will pass youngsters by, but even devotion to the story should have permitted some adjustment.

Ends January 10