When you go to see a panto you expect all of the predictable bases to be covered; a soap star headliner, a strong singer or two (if you’re lucky), at least one strong actor, a cross-dressing panto dame and a core of over excited local teenagers.

More often than not you are also treated to an amazing opening act and a not so great finale or vice versa, this one was no different!

As someone that loves a good panto I found the opening half hour a little slow – although looking around me the rest of the audience were having a great time so I put this down to me being tired and grumpy or jetlagged! – the second half of the show for me was the most enjoyable half of panto I have seen for many a year – doo doo doo doo doo doo

This year’s line up at the Wyvern pretty much towed the line of predictability with Adam Woodyatt playing the baddie Abanazar giving us our soap star, Rosanna Harris playing Princess Jasmine and Adam Bailey as Aladdin belting out some great vocals – although Aladdin’s part in the duet of Clean Bandit’s Symphony left a little to be desired, Neil Bromley as Widow Twankey gave us the panto dame and was a delight to watch as he interacted with the audience, Richard J Hunt as The Genie was probably the most standout of the actors, though Gary Jerry as Wishee Washee was in danger of stealing the show every time he came on stage with his wee rhyme! As for the over excited local teenagers, these were found in the audience. The juvenile chorus dancers being split into two groups, the group on stage were superb in everything they did and if the enthusiasm transfers from the audience to the stage then the second group will be just as good.

© Anthony Hunt Photography
© Anthony Hunt Photography

The second half saw Aladdin find his vocals belting out a perfect version of ‘This is the Moment’ from Jekyll and Hyde but the moment the theatre really came to life, with the whole auditorium taking part was in a rendition of Baby Shark.

Now I have managed to stay away from this phenomenon, reading all of the moans and groans about the song and hot it is soooo annoying BUT I haven’t stopped singing the song, even roping others into singing it with me, so if you are heading to the Wyvern for a panto performance please do not shy away get up on your feet and do Baby Shark!

Taking away my earlier grumpiness this panto is up there with some of the best I have seen in recent years, the set design was something you would expect to see on a much bigger stage with a much bigger budget, Adam Woodyatt who clearly loves Swindon at Christmas played his baddie amazingly and the rest of the cast were just outstanding, the chemistry amongst the performers on stage, and in the reserve backing dancers next to me, was clear to see. Every looked as though they had a great time which the same can be said for the audience.

Aladdin is running at the Wyvern throughout Christmas until January 6th 2019. There are still a few tickets left for a number of performances that can be bought online or at the ticket office on 01793 524481.

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