Friday 8 December 2023

Aladdin at St Helen's Theatre Royal - A Review

On Wednesday evening we attended the press night of Aladdin at St Helen's Theatre Royal, where we enjoyed a fun filled night of entertainment, 3D special effects and a magic carpet ride of an adventure. This spectacular pantomime by Regal Entertainments, delivers an outstanding production yet again, that is suitable for the whole family to enjoy this Christmas.

This years festive panto tells the story of Aladdin who lives in his families laundry, along with his brother Wishee Washee and his mother Widow Twanky. Aladdin falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jasmine, but he must help to save her from the evil Abanazar, with the help of a very special lamp and its hilarious genie, along with his family and the beautful Genie of the Mirror, who all play their part in saving the day!   

Image Credit: David Munn Photography

Timothy Lucas stars as the Genie and he is absolutely outstanding, providing plenty of humour and fast paced dance routines which looked spectacular on the stage. We last saw Tim Lucas in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Epstein Theatre a couple of years ago, and my children were so excited to see him again. He really is an all-round highly skilled performer, who excels in entertaining and delighting the audience.

Wishee Washee is played by Lewis Devine, who is one of our all time favourite panto stars. His hilarious personality combined with his comedic skills make you laugh out loud in numerous parts of the show. We all enjoyed his witty interactions with audience members, as well as his amusing collaborations with the genie, where they were both amazing on stage together.  One particular highlight for me was a scene where Wishee Washee wished to be small, and what followed had us crying with laughter.

Richard Aucott also impressed the audience as Widow Twanky, along with his incredibly outrageous costumes that seemed to become more and more extravagant as the show went on. 

Image Credit: David Munn Photography

The role of Princess Jasmine is played by local actress Jess Smith and she looked stunningly beautiful alongside Alex Aram who stars as Aladdin. Their on stage chemistry was superb and there is a lovely scene once they meet, that features a mash-up of many different love songs.

Popular Radio presenter Leanne Campbell stars as the digital Genie In The Mirror, though it's important to note that this is via video projection only and she does not appear in person. However, whilst her appearance may only be via a screen, she still manages to provide a cheerful and charming performance and looks absolutely gorgeous too.

This years panto baddie is the villainous Abanazar played by Liam Fox, who is best known as Emmerdale's loveable Dan Spencer. Every time he entered the stage, there was a devilishly remastered version of the Emmerdale theme tune played and he would be welcomed with a chorus of boos from the audience. He came across well on stage and delivered his evil laugh with perfection, often whilst appearing alongside PC Shameless who is played by Warren Donnelly.

The sound and choreography were absolutely incredible as always and the closing scene of the first half was phenomenal, featuring a Take That medley of popular songs that got everyone singing and dancing along. 

A clever integration of modern technology featured regularly throughout the show, but in the second half this went to another level, when we were treated to a 3D Magic Carpet Ride, which helped you to feel as though you were part of the adventure. This was swiftly followed by the well known panto ghost scene which was also delivered in 3D form. My youngest son absolutely loved this and it was an element to the pantomime that I personally haven't seen done this way before.

Overall we had a fantastic time watching Aladdin at St Helen's Theatre Royal and it is hard to believe just how much entertainment they managed to pack into this production. From fast paced choreography to hilarious comedy sketches, you won't want to take your eyes away from the stage for so much as a second. I would absolutely recommend Aladdin as a must-see pantomime this festive season!

Image Credit: David Munn Photography

To find out more about Aladdin or other upcoming productions at St Helens Theatre Royal, you can visit their website here: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com

You can also follow St Helens Theatre Royal on the following social media pages:

Facebook - facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

X (formerly known as Twitter) - @TheatreRoyalStH

Instagram - @StHelensTheatreRoyal

Listing Details

Show - Regal Entertainments Ltd presents Aladdin

Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ

Dates - 2nd December 2023 to 14th January 2024

Performance Times - Times vary so please see the St Helens Theatre Royal website for the most up to date information.

Tickets - From £21* (*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat booking fee. Online bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat online processing fee.)

Tickets can be booked in person at St Helens Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756000 or visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

Image Credit: David Munn Photography

*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the production. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Images featured within this post do not belong to me and were kindly provided. Details featured within this post are believed to be correct at the time of writing but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Scribble Shakedown! by Paladone Games - A Review

(AD - Gifted) 

We have several budding artists in our family, so my children love any opportunity to show off their artistic skills. I was therefore really excited to introduce them to Scribble Shakedown, which is a drawing game with a difference.

Scribble Shakedown is by Paladone Games and is described as being a fast paced wobbly drawing game, that is suitable for ages 6+. It can be played by 4 or more players, which makes it perfect for larger families like ourselves. The front of the box is really artistic and stands out with its doodles galore across the front. 

The rear of the packaging continues with the doodle theme, as well as providing some brief details on how to play the game, as well as a list of contents which includes:

  • 2 x Shaking Pens
  • 1 x Sandtimer
  • 2 x Paper Pads
  • 100 Cards
  • Instructions

I feel it is also important to point out here that there is small writing at the bottom which states that each pen requires 1 x AA 1.5V DC batteries and these are NOT included within the box. Unfortunately I didn't spot this until we were ready to play, so we had to delay gameplay until I could pop to the shops. However, once the battery situation was resolved, we sat down again, ready to put our drawing talents to the test.

The game can be played in two different ways, with the first being Team Battle. The aim of the game in the team battle, is to be the first team that draws and guesses 5 different objects correctly. Each team must have a shaking pen and their note pad ready, and someone must shuffle the cards from one of the packs and place them face down in the centre of the table. Each team can consist of two or more players and the youngest player picks a card and selects which object they would like to draw.


Once they have chosen, then they must also show the player from the other team who will also be drawing, at which point both players then have one minute to draw the object using their shaking pens. The first team to guess correctly will win the card and should place it in front of their team. Should no one guess correctly then the card goes back to the bottom of the pack and the youngest player from the opposing team now picks a card and chooses the object instead. This gameplay then simply continues until one of the teams guesses 5 objects correctly.

It is super easy to get the hang of and encourages plenty of laughter as you try and guess what is being drawn. In our case a lot of the pictures looked so different to the intended object which we found hilarious, and I personally found it got harder to draw with the shaking pen as the minute went on as I kept loosening my grip whilst laughing.


The second way to play the game is called Quick Fire Scribble, where just like the first game, you separate into teams, but this time you try to draw as many objects on the card as quickly as possible until the sand timer runs out. You can only move onto the next object though if you team manages to correctly guess what you are drawing. In this game the winner of the card is the team that manages to guess the most objects, with the overall winner being the first team to collect 5 cards.

Overall, we really enjoyed this game, it's super simple to play and easy to understand and it's an enjoyable one for adults to join in with too. We will definitely be playing this with our guests on Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year as it's loads of fun and provides plenty of entertainment. My only negative would be that there are no batteries included, but this is easy enough to resolve and I would happily recommend Scribble Shakedown to others.

If you would like to purchase Scribble Shakedown, then this is currently available to buy at Next subject to stock availability with an RRP of £20.

*Disclaimer - We were gifted a copy of this game for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission should you choose to purchase.