I have not been to a pantomime since I was very little so I didn't know how I would react as a grown adult to Aladdin last night at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
Bending the well known story a little, by introducing classic pantomime characters such as Wishee Washee, Widow Twankey and PC Pong, it still has all the charm of the original tale but with a boat load of humour from the new additions.
Although Aladdin is not necessarily a Christmas story, the cast and crew still managed to slip in The 12 Days of Christmas, with their own unique twist which brought in many laughs from the audience and got us all in the festive mood.
For those who are fans of current music there were renditions of Pharrell's 'Happy', Clean Bandit's 'Rather Be' and a One Direction song at the end for good measure to appeal to the teens in the crowd.
The jokes kept coming with more risqué, innuendo for the mums and dads and some slapstick for the kids- a great balance of humour to suit everyone. There was plenty of audience interaction too which kept the kids engrossed throughout.
The cast seemed to really enjoy their performance too which made it all the easier for the audience to join in.
Wishee Washee (Ben Englen) was a particular favourite of mine as he had a natural ability to make people giggle. When they had some of the children from the audience up on stage to sing the song 'Wiggly Woo'- he was wonderful at putting them at ease and getting them to join in.
Ray Quinn, best known as The X Factor Finalist in 2006 and winner of Dancing on Ice in 2009, was a strong lead and his performance of 'Your Love Keeps Lifting' by Jackie Wilson while he was flying on the magic carpet was a standout moment for me.
Claire Sweeny was her lovely, bubbly self in her role as Genie of the Ring and kept us laughing with her sarcastic comments throughout.
Radio City 96.7's Leanne Campbell (Princess Jasmine) sang alongside Quinn in the duet of Emili Sande and Labyrinth's 'See Beneath You're Beautiful'. I have to confess, I didn't realise that she had a background in theatre but listening to her sing and seeing her perform- she was a natural and very deserving of her place alongside Quinn.
The glittery costumes dazzled, the sets were very intricate and I admired all the attention to detail that had been put into them with each new scene.
If you are looking for a Christmas pick me up, then this is it- pantomimes are not just for kids- there is plenty in there to keep the adults entertained too.
As someone who is not from Liverpool originally, I must admit that some of the jokes were lost on me- however, this did not detract from my enjoyment of the performance. When I asked my husband afterwards who was born in the area, and he explained them to me- they were in fact very funny- it's just a shame I didn't get them at the time. And more tragically I had never heard of the Wiggly Woo song before- but now I do and I feel much more cultured for having learned it!