The Spectacular Aladdin at the SSE Arena Belfast.
Northern Ireland’s newest Christmas pantomime, brought to the SSE Arena by SSE Airtricity, Q Radio, M & J Pantos and sponsors Fruit Shoot, is currently taking families and schools on a colourful ride through Aladdin’s world.
The cast includes country singing sensation Jake Carter as Aladdin, Nadia Forde as Princess Jasmine, local actress Nuala McKeever as the Empress, Ross Anderson-Doherty as Genie and X-Factor’s, Rhydian, who plays the evil role of Abanazar.
Aladdin is one of a number of Christmas shows in Belfast this year in all the usual venues and theatres.
This production has everything you would expect from panto in Northern Ireland in 2017. With a panto dame, someone to boo at, someone to bring the laughs, and a load of Norn Iron humour this production has everything you need, but is it enough?
It’s a big ask to put a panto into the SSE Arena, even if it is in the smaller theatre set up. That’s still a lot of stage to fill, and a lot of seats to fill to get the atmosphere going.
The Q Radio warmup team do a fantastic job getting everyone psyched up with lots of music, banter and giveaways.
The show itself kicks off with a big dance number and Rhydian doesn’t waste any time on making his entrance either. It’s all going on down there on the stage, there’s definitely a party happening, but it feels a bit far away. I imagine the seats on the venue floor are perfect though. Kids all around us certainly enjoyed dancing along to a few of the tracks though, especially Gangnam style.
The Norn Irish jokes and banter are a big nod to this totally local production in the SSE. That’s quite an achievement and a credit to the team involved to put on a big panto in this venue for 2 weeks.
The SSE is big enough to accommodate a royal parade through the audience as Princess Jasmine arrives, and the magic of the flying carpet is a treat. The animated back wall of the stage sets the scene throughout the show; it’s something a bit different.
The Spectacular Aladdin is a little bit lost, the set a bit small on the huge stage, the spectacular is not quite spectacular enough, but it’s a promising start to what could become an annual panto tradition in the SSE.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ssearenabelfast.com/the-spectacular-aladdin