Ashley and his pals rub up a bit of magic at the Cliffs

THEY like to do things a little differently at Southend Cliffs Pavilion, a venue that features some of the most creative acts and shows on tour in the UK and this Christmas they have certainly hit the mark with a different style of pantomime.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Aladdin which has as its principal stars the dance troop Diversity. How would that work? Could it work?

The answer is a definite yes – myself and the rest of the audience were definitely entertained.

There’s not as much slapstick in this production as you might expect in a more traditional format but that didn’t matter a jot.

Between Abanazar, evilly played by Daniel Boys, and the giant serpent that opened the show I thought half of the children in the audience would be traumatised but everyone was soon participating and clapping along.

Aladdin was typically charming thanks to the performance of Liam Doyle and Denquar Chupak was a very sweet Princess Jasmine.

David Phipps-Davis was humorous as Widow Twankie and a slip up in the shirt scene had everyone laughing at his gaffe. Yiou can’t beat live entertainment! Ian Royce was comical as Wishi Washi and got a couple of petrified guests up onstage but they were let off lightly I think.

After almost 10 years in the spotlight Diversity, which has deep roots in Thurrock where many members grew up, remain as fresh as the day they made such an impact on Britain’s Got Talent and they stole the show with their technicality and agility and Perri’s dance moves with Wishi Washi.

The stage was cleverly designed and with plenty of pyrotechnics and flashing lights kept everyone, young or old entertained.    

The show runs until Saturday, 5 January but two extra performances have been added on Friday, 4 January, though Diversity will be appearing without Ashley Banjo at these additional performances.

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