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Aladdin/Liverpool Empire

Pamela Anderson and plenty of lamp rubbing suits Mike Chapple

Published on December 17th 2010.

Aladdin/Liverpool Empire

THE legendary cartoonist and Droopy creator Tex Avery would have loved this.

His trademark - which more than occasionally got him into hot water with the censors - was to draw wonderful, almost impossibly pneumatic, curvy dames.

It was Dennis and Kearns' tight comedy double act who kept the whole thing trundling along the straight and narrow

They would wiggle their assets before some hapless male whose eyes would stick out on stalks while an incredulous jaw would hit the ground with a metallic clang.

Something akin to this happened at the press night for Aladdin, as Pamela Anderson made her grand entrance from the rafters balanced on a swing, her pert body squeezed into ludicrously tight - and very short - red spangled swimsuit.

"You have to admit, she's a bit of a babe," I remarked entirely reasonably to female companion Lady Penelope of Pensby, trying with as much dignity as could be mustered to screw my own eyeballs back in their orbits.

There was no reply, although the Lady's pursed lips and face, like a smacked bum had the tell-tale warning "Down Boy!" stitched over it.

But there can be no denying that Pammy, at 43, still looks sensational, as she reprised her role as Genie of the Lamp from last year's London stage with a couple of tweaks to please us Liverpudlians.

"I love being a Liver Bird!" she cooed.

"I bet you do'!'" I could almost hear the dads in the audience muttering to themselves.

Of course, all this was lost on the kids whose attention spans seemed to be tested by the marathon near-three-hour performance.

The production was most certainly busy, especially with the excellent Les Dennis as Wishy Washy motoring things along. Sean Kearns' butch, Ulsterman Widow Twanky was a Christmas cracker too, and Mark Morghan made for a cheekily dynamic baddie, Abanazar.

But why do pantos sometimes have to be so long?

After listening to an interminable rendition of the 12 Days Of Christmas (lifted directly from the Empire's 2008 panto triumph, Cinderella), I personally felt like hacking my head off with a teaspoon.

And why so many old roasted song chestnuts such as Thoroughly Modern Millie (er-hum!), which don't seem to have any relevance to the plot, such as it was?

Consequently, there was a notable background buzz from distracted mites by 9 o'clock (two hours into the show), a few of whom would have been puzzled by the in-jokes, numerous Liverpool place-name checks and the sometimes hurried dialogue.

Ah, but what the heck, I'm no Scrooge.

Aladdin has a likeable cast and our Pammy genuinely seemed to be enjoying herself.

It would be fair, however, to say that it was Dennis and Kearns' tight comedy double act who kept the whole thing trundling along the straight and narrow.

The affable Les bringing children from the audience at the climax and interviewing them is a panto tradition, but in his hands was one of the highlights of the show.

When a lad called Euan said he came from Formby to a lone, derogatory boo from the audience, I nearly fell off my seat laughing; as when a young urchin named Harrison, celebrating his fifth birthday, demanded: "Where's me present?

Out of the mouths of babes - and Wishy Washy - eh?

All in all then, despite some drawbacks, a splendid time was had by all.

Now all that remains is to find out what Pammy's doing after tonight's show?

(Cry of "She's behind you!" followed by the crunching sound of Lady P's rolling pin connecting with Yours Truly's bonce).

7/10 A little winky wonky but nice.

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Radio Ga GaDecember 15th 2010.

What, no mention of Pete Price and the splendid moment when his microphone went off and we were denied his voice for five whole minutes.

Dame SnotDecember 15th 2010.

This was a very difficult show to watch for three hours, mainly caused by the weak script in the first half. Some of the lines were lamentable. The second half was better, faster. Unfortunately my entire row, made up of freeloading PR types had got off by then.

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