Aladdin at the Webster, A festive treat perfect for the whole family

Originally published in the Arbroath Herald – December 2018

There’s nothing quite like a panto come Christmas time – oh no there’s not! And over the years, the Webster Theatre has gained a reputation for producing a stellar festive show which is guaranteed to entertain the whole family.

Thankfully this year’s production Aladdin is no exception. Filled with fun and frolics, goodies, baddies, brilliant songs, fantastic dance routines and laughs aplenty, this pantomime has everything an audience could possibly want and much, much more.

With their own unique retelling of the classic tale, the Webster Theatre’s show captures the heart, soul and funny bones of their entranced audience. As you’d expect from an enchanting story like Aladdin, the production brings plenty of magic to the stage, with impressive special effects and a dazzling flying carpet to wow the audience nightly.

The brilliant cast, sparkle on stage as they act out the captivating tale. Newcomer Tony McGeever, shines in the lead role as Aladdin with Simon Donaldson providing lots of laughs and hilarious dance moves as brother, Lankie Spankie. Arron Usher returns to the Webster Theatre for a second year in a row, this time as the wickedly funny Widow Spankie, as does the fabulous Susan Coyle as the beautiful baddie Abanazar and the lovely Claudia Todd who steals Aladdin’s heart as well as our own, as Princess Jaz. Last but by no means least is champion hip-hop dancer Charles ‘Chuck’ Denton, who lights up the Arbroath theatre once again, as he performs the role of the powerful breakdancing Genie, Jay-Z.

With plenty of opportunities to boo and hiss, shout and scream, sing along and dance too, the Webster Theatre’s production, delivers festive warmth and Christmas cheer in abundance. Do you and your family a favour and catch it while you can.

Beauty and the Beast at the Webster Theatre, Arbroath

Every year my family and I make a point of going to see the pantomime at the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath. Filled with fun and frolics, it’s the perfect way to get the festive season started! After all Christmas just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without shouting “he’s behind you” to the pantomime dame and “Oh no she didn’t” to the dastardly villain.

This year’s production is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast written by local playwright JJ Christine. The show stars a host of wonderful actors from Chris O’Mara as the Beast & Prince, Claudia Todd as Bell, Simon Donaldson as Gastoff, Susan Coyle as Evil Mother & Mrs P, Arron Usher as Aunt Jolly,  and Charles ‘Chuck’ Denton as La Poo, all of whom do a terrific job of entertaining and engaging the family audience.

As always this panto adds it’s own special twist to the well known tale, making it a riveting watch. In this version, Bell and the Beast both love to dance, Gastoff has an mother issues and La Poo is an expert body popper! Who knew!

We absolutely loved the show and my two girls aged 5 and 8, were absolutely glued throughout. As always the Webster Memorial Theatre’s panto production was pitched absolutely perfectly for the family audience. With loads of laugh out load moments, bucketsful of high jinx, plenty of baddies to boo and a brilliant soundtrack to sing along to – this panto really does have it all!

Beauty and the Beast is the perfect family pantomime for Christmas and is not to be missed!

Beauty and the Beast is on at the Webster Memorial Theatre until the 24th of December. For further information about the production and to buy tickets, please visit: http://www.webstertheatre.co.uk/whatson.htm


*Disclaimer: I was very kindly provided with tickets to this performance in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Cinderella at The Webster Theatre, Arbroath

cinderellaI love a good panto. I mean really, what’s not to love? The music, the cheering, the boo hissing, that lovely warm festive feeling inside you have by the time you reach the end? Done well and a good panto can be just magical. But all that really is dependent on it being done well.

After seeing the amazing Jack and the Beanstalk last December at The Webster Theatre, I wasn’t worried. After all both pantomimes are written by the brilliant John Binnie, an award winning Scottish playwright famous for his moving productions. Really, what could go wrong? Nothing as it turns out, everything was just very, very right.

From the very beginning we know that this panto isn’t going to be exactly traditional when we meet our handsome prince who looks more emo than classic Prince charmer. And the surprises don’t stop there, Cinderella is feisty, our fairy godmother has a bright pink bob and Buttons is an irresistibly cute mouse.

The amazing cast of stellar Scottish actors, including River City’s Carmen Pieraccini, had the audience captivated from the moment the curtains went up and we were instantly rooting for the quirky Cinderella and Prince to get together.

All in all the production is flawless. The catchy songs, hilarious gags and lovable goodies and baddies, have the whole audience in an uproar, and at times, quite literally out of their seats. The audience participation makes this production particularly special for the younger guests who were whooping with laughter as the ugly sisters Bangers and Mash made their way through the crowds and through the theatre aisles.

With loads of laughs, plenty of mad antics and some lovely touchy feely moments, I spent my time alternating between giggling happy big girl to blubbering sappy big girl. The kids loved it too, even my three year old, a notorious wriggler, sat transfixed the whole way through, magically mesmerised by the show.

Yes, it’s official, Cinderella at the Webster Theatre is definitely a panto done well. In fact, judging by the immense festive cheer I felt by the end and the sea of smiling, jolly faces that I passed as we left, I’d say that this panto is right up there with the very, very best.

Cinderella is on at the Webster Theatre until the 24th of December. For ticket information visit: www.webstertheatre.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01241 435800.