Aladdin at The Anvil

Location: The Anvil, Basingstoke

Hampshire

By Tim Saunders

Widow Twankey has to be the funniest character in Aladdin at The Anvil Basingstoke, which runs until January 5, 2020.

What makes this role, performed by Nic Gibney, so enjoyable, is the excellent Westcountry accent and the range of costumes and hairstyles. Yes, a Westcountry woman in the middle of China, running a laundry. Stranger things must have happened.

Old Twankey is mother of Aladdin (Mark Rhodes) and Wishee Washee (Christopher Pizzey, also Director). When Wishee Washee goes through the laundry mangle, “he’s flat out at the moment”, according to Twankey. Then when Aladdin (Mark Rhodes) is chased by PC Pong (Charlie Guest), his mum pushes him into the washing machine. After a few cycles he shrinks and makes his escape.

“Where were you between five and seven?” questions PC Pong to Twankey. “School,” comes the reply…

Following some slapstick comedy, Widow Twankey instructs Wishee Washee and PC Pong not to touch the lever and not to make a mess. After she leaves the room, the inevitable happens to roars of delight from the children.

But it’s when Widow Twankey bows with loud flatulence as she greets the Emperor (Andrew Gallo) that my wife erupts into fits of giggles. It’s great to see.

Watching this performance with my wife and three children, son Henry (3) loves the imaginary police car. PC Pong presses his make-believe keyfob, which emits a bleep bleep and he gets in. This new form of transport is the result of cutbacks, apparently. Highly likely Henry and his sisters will be doing this around the house in coming weeks.

www.anvilarts.org.uk