Friday, December 21, 2007

Genre stretching (II) - Pantomime

Last night we went for our annual pantomime trip to see Aladdin at Birmingham Hippodrome. It was absolutely excellent - I highly recommend it as a high quality pantomime show. I really liked the ways that the director, Paul Elliott had really stretched the pantomime genre. The drag element was carried off in conventional fashion by Don Maclean as Widow Twankey, but the role of Aladdin was not a woman but the dashing (and slightly full of himself) John Barrowman. A funny twist was the inclusion of a scene where one of The Grumbleweeds appeared as Cher - drag performativity but not so radical that audiences would struggle with it (judging by the roars of laughter). Certainly a case of the Bakhtinian carnivalesque allowing space for touches of subversion contained in humour!

What I liked more than anything else, was the 3D Genie, provided by Bogglevision, which, my programme tells me 'is all about creating theatre sets that come to life during the show'. It was an amazing experience which crossed theatre, cinema, adventure rides and computer games. Audience interactivity was opened up to a whole range of possibilities and illusions. It really was imaginative, innovative, genre-stretching and thoroughly well done. The show runs until 27 January, so my advice is to get along and see it if you can!



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