Aladdin (2 stars)


SECC Christmas show stars The Krankies and John Barrowman

If you think this arena spectacular violates that unspoken rule of knowing crapness in pantomime by promising 3D graphics and a celebrity star for whom the phrase ‘it’s behind you’ unusually couldn’t be applied to his career, think again. The SECC’s Aladdin proves a family Christmas show that’s surprisingly crapper than most.

Dashing bidialectal Scots-American John Barrowman’s all-singing, all-flouncing presence in the lead role (many amusing nod and winks are made from the absurdity of a high-profile gay entertainer pursuing a beautiful princess) is balanced out by him being placed opposite ghosts of Christmases past The Krankies. Their blue double-entendres keep parents chuckling, though Jimmy’s midget SuBo caricature’s squirting pussycat is taking things much too far.

The 3D genie would have looked laughable even in the pre-Avatar age, and even if the computer hadn’t crashed during the climactic final rubbing of the lamp scene – at which point a valiantly ad-libbing Barrowman may have wanted to use that last wish to set himself free.

SECC, Glasgow, until Sun 9 Jan


John Barrowman takes centre stage in this big budget panto, also featuring the Krankies and a 3D genie.