Review: This is no ordinary panto… it’s an incredible panto!

by Sylvia Pownall
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The magical story of Aladdin is getting a 2019 makeover at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre – and panto audiences are loving it.

Now extended until January 17, the Arabian tale combines genies and flying carpets with an Irish institution in the form of bumbling Garda PC.

The Corkman puts manners on the cast as he orders them not to address the audience as ladies and gentlemen (offensive) or boys and girls (ageist).

“Dem’s de rules,” he yells, brandishing a red hurley at street urchin Aladdin, princess Jasmine, Widow Twankey and her son Wishee Washee.

Stars at the gala opening included Boyzone’s Keith Duffy, RTE’s Baz Ashmawi, Pat Kenny and Weekend AM hosts Laura Wood and Anna Daly.

Dublin Gazette tagged along just to see what all the fuss was about. Was it worth it you ask? Oh yes it was.

Hero Aladdin is played by West End star Julian Capolei who also led the cast in Disney’s Aladdin The Musical on London’s West End.

The swagger and charisma of his performance are matched by iconic panto dame Joe Conlan, who celebrates 30 years in the industry, in the role of Widow Twankey.

Another veteran of the Christmas panto, Nicholas Grennell, whips his young audience into a frenzy of booing as lamp-stealing villain Abanazer.

Meanwhile Michael Joseph pokes fun at himself – and the audience – at every opportunity as chief mischief-maker Wishee Washee.

This version sticks faithfully to the story, but it ditches the Disney tunes with Abanazer channelling Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ and princess So Shy twerking away.

The intimate Gaiety venue, which staged its first panto in 1873, is perfect for witnessing a ‘magic carpet’ flying right over your head as Aladdin and Jasmine sing ‘Rewrite the Stars’ from the Greatest Showman.

Our critic, Leah

Our critic Leah, age six, was rapt for the entire three-hour show. She concluded: “I don’t want it to be over. Can they do it again?”

As the saying goes, this is no ordinary panto… Tickets for Aladdin (from e19.50) are available at and

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