GT Stage

Aladdin: A Wish Come True

Lily Savage does Chicago and Gypsy. Oh yes.

It's a triumphant return for Paul O'Grady and Jon Lee as Aladdin: A Wish Come True once more takes up residency at a custom-built theatre in London's O2.

You really should need no introduction to the story of Aladdin – really – but this is probably the first time you'll see the story start in a cemetery in Liverpool (really).

As ever, almost every word that Paul, as Lily Savage, utters has the crowd roaring in their seats (and forgetting that this particular theatre can get a little chilly – wear something warm). It's a shame that this looks likely to be Lily's last outing, so take a trip down the Thames for that if nothing else.

Of course there's loads more than that, should you need convincing (rotten Grinch if so) – Issy Van Randwyck is hilarious as the Slave of the Ring (STOP IT) and Darren Bennett is deliciously camp as evil Abanazar. In fact, we'd go so far as to say Aladdin: A Wish Come True is as gay as it can get without having to resort to filth or nudity - and trust us, it works a charm for exactly those reasons.

Whoever picked the songs - including tunes from Chicago, Gypsy, Gigi, Sister Act and Smash - knows how to push our buttons.

Of course, there's still plenty of rather fine looking men in the ensemble and they do seem to spend most of their time with their chests on display (despite the cold - they'll have someone's eye out).

Speaking of chests – blimey Jon Lee's been working out since he last played the lead role in 2010. But it's not all about his (now ample) bosom – he's a joy both to watch and listen to. And also looks good on a flying carpet, which is one of the many highlights of the show. And no, we didn't try to figure out how they did it because we didn't want to spoil the magic, alright?

A truly brilliant night out – we'd go as far as to say it's London's best panto experience this year. We even sang along for the final, frantic version of 12 Days of Christmas. We hope it's not really the last we've seen of Lily Savage…


Until 5 January, The Theatre at The O2, Peninsula Square, tickets and details here.

Paul O'Grady's new book here and Jon Lee's new album here.

Words (and blatant plugs): Darren Scott

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