Geoffrey Shryhane laughs all the way home after seeing Aladdin at Manchester Opera House.



"Oh I don't much like panto." How many times have you heard that said? My view - they are missing out on a stageful of festive fun.
I say straight away that Aladdin at the Opera House is the funniest and most entertaining panto I've seen in well over a decade. It was so good, I expected the receptive audience to give it a standing ovation.
This is a festive family show at its very best - and king of the stage is a man you've mostly not heard of until I say he played Diggory the baker in Coronation Street quite a while ago.
Not only did actor and show writer Eric Potts as Widow Twanky rules the stage, he also managed to present some "near-the-knuckle" moments which had the adults in fit of laughter and the kiddies looking a little bemused.
It's true, Aladdin has been performed many times in the Opera House's century plus history and remains a firm favourite. This production has a heart as big as a dustbin lid and a baddie who we don't hate too much.
John Thomson (Cold Feet) makes much of his meaty role as the evil Abanazer, and everybody's favourite Sherrie Hewson (Benidorm) gets a thunderous round of applause when she first appears at the sexy genie of the lamp, Ben Adams from the group A1 is the romantic interest and had the girls' pulses racing.
Aladdin is a feast of fun and frolic. And there's even a song sheet with a handful of kiddies taking to the stage to say just what they want for Christmas.
Aladdin plays at the Opera House until January 8.

Photo Phil Tragen