What to Expect from Aladdin at Sunderland Empire
Sunderland Empire’s panto Aladdin was out of this world; in fact, our wishes were granted and it took us to a whole new one…
As the show started, we were introduced to the Spirit of the Ring, the Genie and the baddie (boo!) Abanazar who is played by soapstar Gary Lucy (you’ll know him best for playing Luke Morgan in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, Danny Pennant in Eastenders and PC Fletcher in The Bill).
And so commenced all the mayhem and madness you expect from the Empire’s annual panto – the slapstick comedy, pop-culture references, a long list of birthday shout-outs and that ‘he’s behind you’/ ‘we’ll have to sing it again then’ ghost performance (except the ghost was swapped for a mummy this time around).
The colourful production was filled with Northern references from start to finish (something we always appreciate as proud Northerners) and toe-tapping dance routines to the likes of Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You and Harry Styles’ Late Night Talking.
The star of the show as always was South Shields’ comic Tom Whalley, who this year took on the role of Aladdin’s not-so-bright brother Wishee Washee. But the North East’s Queen of Comedy, Miss Rory also had us laughing from start to finish as the larger than life Widow Twankey. A drag queen playing a panto dame meant there were plenty of modern references and lots of cheekiness (so less of the same old gags).
Weaved between the hilarity, the story of Aladdin we all know and love was followed carefully but more importantly post-Covid restrictions meant young members of the audience were finally allowed to join Tom back on stage (cue ‘the bairns are back on stage’ sung to the tune of The Boys Are Back in Town).
All members of the family will love their enchanted carpet ride to a whole new world.