It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to the Gaiety Panto. As such, the theatre is inviting people to take a magical carpet ride on this year’s pantomime, Aladdin, from November 24, 2019 until January 5, 2020.
Based on a story from Middle Eastern folk tale compilation One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin is an Arabian tale of true love, magic wishes and dastardly dealings that this year’s Panto organisers say will excite and delight all ages. According to them, the show boasts ‘the extra helping of song, dance, slapstick and laughter’ that you would come to expect from the Gaiety’s festive extravaganza.
The plot synopsis reads: “The mystical Cave of Desire holds the magic lamp that can only be recovered by one of true heart. Our hero Aladdin is tricked by his devious Uncle into retrieving the mysterious object.”
“From there, we enter a world of wonder and awe as the Genie of the Lamp makes this young hero’s wishes come true. However, be careful what you wish for as you may end up with more than you bargained for…!”
With a stellar cast of returning favourites including Joe Conlan as Widow Twankey and Nicholas Grennell as Abanazer, the show will also introduce audiences to West End talent Julian Capolei as Aladdin and Suzie Seweify as Princess Jasmine. Meanwhile, Daryn Crosbie is back to direct.
This panto version of Aladdin is arriving hot on the heels of the Disney live-action adaptation of the story which was released last summer. Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Will Smith as the genie, the film grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide.
That said, kids may already be familiar with the tale through Disney’s 1992 animated take on Aladdin. Boasting a legendary voice performance from comedian Robin Williams as the genie, the film was a critical and commercial success.
For those visiting or newly arrived in Ireland, panto stands for pantomime and is a form of theatre developed in Western culture. Aimed at children and often taking place during the Christmas and New Year season, it employs gender-crossing actors and combines topical humour with a story based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale.
Modern pantomime includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing and is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.
The Gaiety Theatre has hosted their Christmas Panto every year since 1873, cementing the show as an important part of Irish culture. The event always generates plenty of publicity and interest. As the Gaiety note, families often come from far and wide to see it and for many the show has become as much of a family Christmas tradition as Santa himself.
Recent stories given the panto treatment by the theatre include Little Red Riding Hood, Peter Pan, Rapunzel and Robin Hood.
The Gaiety will have to work hard to top last year’s take on The Snow Queen which earned great reviews. The Irish Mail on Sunday called it a ‘visually spectacular display’ and ‘first-class performance’ Meanwhile, the Irish Times said: ‘sheer spectacle … panto is not just for kids anymore’ and the Irish Mirror called it: “One you definitely won’t want to miss! … Exceptional”
Tickets are on sale now and cost from €19.50, including the booking fee and restoration levy. They can be bought in person at the Gaiety Theatre box office and at Ticketmaster outlets, over the phone by calling 08 18 719 388 and online by visiting Ticketmaster.ie.