And, as far as our family Christmas traditions go, it has to be a trip to the grand King George’s Hall – this year to watch their festive offering of Aladdin.
While we dress it up as a treat for the kids, the innuendo-laden quips make it just as entertaining for us adults and so it’s a firm favourite on our Christmas list.
Although, I do have to admit, the little ones are much bigger fans of the super soakers and bucket full of water over the front rows than we are, and so we opt for the ‘safer’ seats on the raked area.
‘Sorry kids, the front row was all sold out…thankfully!’
Each year, the popular KGH panto draws in tens of thousands of visitors who enjoy the time-served formula.
Many of the same faces are back year-after-year in the cast, with a sense of familiarity that never feels stale.
New for 2024, is Corrie’s Tristan Gemmill as baddie Abanazar (or ‘Av a banana’ as Widow Twankey jokes – one of her many names for him throughout the two-hour show).
He laps up the audience with a strong chorus of boos as soon as he steps on stage and plays a convincing part.
Also new to the line-up is the incredible Ella Holt leading as Princess Jasmine.
I overheard a little girl say ‘Wow! She’s a real Disney princess’ and I couldn’t put it any better.
In her stunning costumes, you could easily see her performing on the steps of the Disney Castle and her sensational solos left us all truly in awe.
Billed as ‘back by popular demand’ and she really is, Chloe Carrington plays the Spirit of the Ring – again, her singing helping add the wow factor to the quality production.
She leads the audience through the tale as Aladdin (Tom Sentia), his brother Wishee Washee (Ben Cole) and his mother Widow Twankey (Mark Slowey) – a triumphant trio – battle against the evil Abanazar to stop his evil plan to become Master of The World.
And, powered with a sprinkling of Christmas magic (and a few mechanical interventions) there’s even a flying carpet!
A definite Christmas bonus which is just as impressive as the acrobatic show that has you holding your breath.
This panto will have you laughing out loud, shouting at the stage and will send you home with a big smile on your face and well and truly in the festive spirit.
If you haven’t been yet, it’s a must and runs right throughout Christmas and to New Year’s Eve.