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The talent, energy, friendly warmth and infectious joy shine out of this cast in this show - it's ideal for bringing people of all ages together at Christmas.
I may have only shaken hands with the kids at the start, but I got a surprise hug at the interval already. Aladdin is on at the Dukes, with evening and matinee performances through December until 6 January with tickets from £10, depending on date, seating and concession status.
Director Sarah Punshon has given us the magic of theatre here without any elaborate sets or complex effects – a barrow is a market place, hanging lights a palace.
It works and that's enough spoilers, I won't tell you how they do the desert - though I want to.
The producers insisted that they wanted to find the talent first, and work the entire thing around them.
After a year of tooth-combing their way through the good, the bad and the hideously tone deaf, the panel settled on the final seven. The show is set to feature a whole host of celebrity cameos– from Girls Aloud to Boyzone via less immediately recognisable guest appearances from Coronation Street's Ryan Thomas, ex-Busted star and I'm A Celebrity winner Matt Willis, East Enders and Hollyoaks actress Gemma Bissex, and comedian Richard Blackwood.
Viewers are taken on a journey from the first real-life casting process through to an eight-part scripted drama series which will conclude with a spectacular live episode. The show was created by Strictly Come Dancing judge and choreographer Arlene Phillips and the theatre producer David Ian, with music penned by Take That star Gary Barlow.When I see them arriving with their mother, my friend, I shake hands politely with them, and they shake hands politely back, and off we all go to find our seats, and my fingers are crossed.It's a slightly disturbing thing to do, to go to the theatre, when you haven't been for a long time.The spell of illusion is cast by the characters themselves, who draw us into sharing their hopes and fears, their plots and adventures with Mike Kenny's charming script.The cast is strong, with a vibrant, warm and infectiously friendly chemistry.