In the pantheon of People's Light and Theatre pantos, Cinderella, the 2009 Barrymore Awards-sweeping vaudevillian adaptation, stands as a Jupiter of the form. While the panto, a British holiday-time descendant of commedia dell'arte, includes standard conventions (candy-tossing, drag-wearing, audience participation), the 2009 production was seriously unconventional - innovative, even. So, let's say this year's Aladdin is People's Light's Juno.
The company's ninth panto again pairs composer/lyricist Michael Ogborn with director Peter Pryor, who's also responsible, with Samantha Bellomo, for Aladdin's book, which takes cues from the traditional tale, its Disney cousin, Shakespeare, and Rudolph Valentino, among other influences.
This winning production team also includes returning videographer Jorge Cousineau, with a hilarious tribute to silent-film melodrama set aboard a flying carpet, and costumer Rosemarie McKelvey, with sight gags such as a dormer-windowed gown for Widow Twankey (played by Mark Lazar, People's Light's perennial cross-dressing Dame) that's both literally and figuratively roomy.