Aladdin at The Dukes – refreshingly modern fun


A magical night was had by all; watching a creative take on this year’s Christmas pantomime Aladdin. Set in a fairy light lit theatre, an intimate and magical atmosphere was created and maintained in ‘The Round’ at the Dukes Theatre, a venue like no-other.

Sarah Punshon‘s interpretation of Aladdin had the audience clapping and cheering from the very first song. With Ian Stott’s clever lyrics and absurdly brilliant dance moves, our classic tale took an interesting modern twist, mixed with its traditional Arabian vibes. I had no shame in doing my fair share of booing when the ‘baddiest baddie of them all’ Aladdin’s ‘uncle’, played by Arif Javid appeared, encouraging us to join in with his catchy ‘he’s a really bad baddie’ song.

The story follows the adventure of Aladdin and Genie as they embark through danger and discovery to find love and courage. Simple yet incredibly effective scene changes and prop usage truly maximised the small stage. The audience were thoroughly encouraged to delve into our imaginations and conjure up Princess Jasmine’s palace for ourselves, with the help of believable and friendly characters, puppets and clever manipulation of sound. Princess Jasmine, played by Dora Rubinstein held strong vocals and brought a new side to the character through her comedic adoration of materialistic goods.

Small lighting effects on the Genie’s fingertips truly illuminated his magic, and created an excellent visual effect. As his powerful rays of light radiated up to the ceiling and all four walls, flying through the air; the children were fully encapsulated and everyone was kept entertained and engaged. Delme Thomas as the ‘genie in the lamp’ definitely stole the show for me. With his charismatic stage presence, witty jokes and pink and gold jumpsuit (complete with jaw-dropping shoulder pads). With his bubbly persona, Thomas dazzled the children and created roars of laughter through witty references to the likes of fidget spinners and Ikea with his strong Welsh accent.

With Elephant noises from the wings

Image courtesy of The Dukes

and an inflatable cactus to indicate the desert, the show wasn’t afraid to point fun at itself and didn’t take anything too seriously. The show’s characters exuded energy, with the self-involved Jasmine finding more worth from friendship and love with Aladdin (eventually) to become the hero of each other’s stories.

Marcquelle Ward carried out the role of Aladdin in a refreshingly modern and amusing manner, breakdancing and rapping through our expectations of our traditional protagonist and bringing a playful swagger to the character.

I thoroughly enjoyed this performance from beginning to end, a clever twist on the traditional plot, with brilliant jokes, songs and dance moves!

Aladdin is showing at the Dukes theatre from Friday 24 November – Saturday 6 January.  Be prepared to travel on a journey with magic and music; through treasure caves, palaces and the laundry business.


Article by Jess Renyard

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