site search by freefind advanced

 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke

Box office

01256 844244.
Haymarket Theatre, Wote Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7NW.
The Anvil, Churchill Way, Basingstoke, RG21 7QR.
The website is

Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.


Reviews of Aladdin

12th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

Review from the Newbury Weekly News and the British Theatre Guide .

He's behind yoooooo

Aladdin, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until Sunday, January 5

Christmas jumpers and princess dresses were the order of the day for the audience at the Anvil's traditional family pantomime Aladdin, creating a lovely Christmas spirit and the excitement in the foyer was palpable.

Set in Old Peking, this classic story is given a modern slant. It's directed by Chris Pizzey who also gives an effervescent performance as Wishee Washee and he quickly had the audience on his side who all wanted "to be in his gang".

His mother Widow Twankey runs the local laundry but times are hard and money is scarce. Nic Gibney is an accomplished Dame, full of fun and wears the most outrageous costumes.

Her son Aladdin, the charming Mark Rhodes, has a wonderful stage presence and just shines. He has fallen in love with the Princess Jasmine, a feisty performance from Ashleigh Mackness and they both sing beautifully.

But will Aladdin manage to convince the Emperor (Andrew Gallo) to allow him to marry, especially as he is so poor? Or will Prince Manky Poo (Ben Westhead) be the lucky one?

However, help is at hand from the Spirit of the Ring, the delightful Jennifer Harding, and the rather camp and exuberant Genie of the Lamp (Scott Davies).

They are determined to thwart the evil and cunning Abanazar who wants to rule the world. Mark Moraghan owns thus role. He's the perfect 'baddie' and the audience's boos got louder and louder every time he appeared.

Charlie Guest brings much knockabout comedy as Pc Pong and his invisible police car – well it's "because of the cuts" – but the sound effects were spot on.

There is something for everyone in this panto. Jokes for adults and the children, a truly messy slosh scene that had the audience in hysterics, a comical laundry routine where Wishee Washee ends up going through the mangle and a spellbinding spectacular magical carpet ride.

Look out for the enchanting cave scene, the Chinese dragon and the mummy ghost sketch.

The ensemble dancers give high-energy performances with impressive choreography by Sarah Louise Day and are supported by youngsters from local dance academies who give their all.

With plenty of enthusiastic audience participation, lots of local references, sparkling pyrotechnics and a vibrant selection of musical numbers under the very capable hands of musical director Martyn Cooper, this was a highly enjoyable production.


There are reviews from The Stage ("a panto that does everything right... Twankey's laundry and a gloriously soapy slop scene distinguish this Aladdin" - ★★★), the Basingstoke Observer ("a thoroughly enjoyable show... it is panto in all its glory... a great night out for the family").

Reviews of previous productions

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (December 2018)
Peter Pan (December 2017)
Sleeping Beauty (December 2016)
Jack and the Beanstalk (December 2015)
Cinderella (December 2014)
Aladdin (December 2013)
Snow White (December 2012)
Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play (December 2012). There is a review in the Basingstoke Gazette ("fun, not silly, sophisticated, yet simple, and contains a bounty of incident for children to enjoy and digest").
Peter Pan (December 2011)
Beauty and the Beast (December 2011)
The Wind in the Willows (December 2010)
Sleeping Beauty (December 2010)
Cinderella (December 2009)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (December 2009)
Aladdin (December 2008)
A Christmas Carol (December 2008)
The Wizard of Oz (December 2007)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (December 2007)
The Borrowers (December 2006)
Private Lives (July 2006)
Whatever Happened to Bette and Joan? (February 2006)
The Wind in the Willows (December 2005)
The Canterville Ghost (December 2004)
The Playboy of the Western World (September 2004)
Thérèrse Raquin (January 2004)
The Three Musketeers (December 2003)
Mack and Mabel (November 2003)
Tartuffe (October 2003)
April in Paris (September 2003)
Perfect Pitch (June 2003)
The Daughter-in-Law (April 2003)
East (March 2003)
Relatively Speaking (March 2003)
Othello (February 2003)
Alice the Musical (December 2002)
Ghosts (April 2002)
Pickwick The Musical (December 2001)
The Sound of Music (November 2001)