THERE'S nothing wishy washy about Newport Riverfront Theatre's latest panto production, Aladdin, which took to the stage this week in front of packed audiences.

If you could wish for a perfect pantomime full of fun, sparkle, great gags and slap-stick comedy then this would be it.

Staged in association with the Production Exchange, the show delivers a highly professional and thoroughly entertaining production against a stunning set, with a few pyrotechnics and even a magical carpet ride.

The story begins with the cunning Abanazar plotting to become 'rich, rich, rich' by finding a magical lamp buried in a cave. He needs the help of his nephew Aladdin, who he convinces to explore the booby-trapped cave on the promise he will become a wealthy man - and be able to marry the beautiful Princess Jasmine with whom he is in love.

The loveable Aladdin, played by actor Nickcolia King-N'Da, was charming throughout throwing caution to the wind by declaring his love for the 'untouchable' princess. Jazmin Hudson-Owen, who played Princess Jasmine, was in fine voice delivering some great numbers including Katy Perry's Roar as a solo piece.

The acrobatic Wishee Washee, played by Aisha Numah, bounced across the stage, playing everyone's best friend and offering one of the best singing voices in the cast. She was soon won over by Dai the Lamp, actor Richard Elis (also Hanky Panky), who had the audience in fits with often spontaneous comedy lines.

But it was the panto dame Widow Twankey, played by actor Liam Tobin, who was the true star of the show delivery gag after gag with comedy perfection - keeping the crowd laughing throughout. Bursting onto the stage to Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 in a dress so huge there were Chinese lanterns hanging off the shoulders, Window Twankey soon had the crowd bursting with laughter. Hats off to audience member Yestyn who was reluctantly roped in to offer sympathy to the garish dame throughout the show - his good sportsmanship inspired plenty of applause from an appreciative audience.

And it was fantastic audience participation that defined this show - from Aladdin's beautiful magic flying carpet piece to the water-pistols fired at the audience - keeping youngsters engaged throughout.

With plenty of 'He's behind you' and booing at the baddy moments, plus a good old sing-along between two halves of the audience, this is top family entertainment.

The show runs until January 7, 2018, and I highly recommend it.

Sarah Wigmore