This year's 'must-see' pantomime, Aladdin at The Old Vic, with Ian McKellen repeating his camp Widow Twankey is rumbustuous and ambitious.
Widow Twankey (Sir Ian McKellen)
For me some of the funniest words came from the doddery Emperor (Paul Grunert) who may have thought he was still in the recent production of Richard II; surprisingly some of the more topical jokes and cultural allusions only raised a titter. The exotic Cave of Dreams worked its magic as the climax of a clever series of sets using a great hinged box and swathing curtains and the genie (Tee Jaye) gorgeously resplendent. A comedy duo Hanky (Matthew Wolfenden) and Panky (Andrew Spillett) brought pace and clowning. Earnest and honest Aladdin (Neil McDermott) had to work hard to win his fair lady (Kate Gillespie) from the hands of the dastardly Abbanazar (Roger Allam). The verdict may come in the final song: There's life in the Old Vic yet!
• Aladdin is at The Old Vic until Sunday 22 January