Panto Review: The Spectacular Aladdin at the SSE Belfast

The Spectacular Aladdin at the SSE Arena Belfast is a great spectacle to behold in a very non-traditional space. It means big and little kids have plenty of space to dance sing and party in the large arena setting (adjusted to seat 2,500-4000 in a theatre setting) plus the added bonus of a large concert style stage which means more lights, more projections and more special effects. The actors enter and exit through the audience, so the seated crowd can get up close and personal to the action.


The story and characters are still traditional we have a gorgeous princess in distress (Nadia Forde), a heroic handsome prince, two wonderful genies and of course our Panto dame and trusty sidekick. Jake Carter ( yes brother of Nathan) excels in the role of Aladdin and Rhydian’s Abanazar is a fabulous baddie who seems to grow in confidence which each boo and hiss, his musical theatre background shines through and he really tries to project his voice in the large auditorium.Christina Nelson’s Wishie Washie, dressed in an amazing Belfast Giants Cheerleader outfit, holds the attention of the audience throughout, much needed as at times it was hard to concentrate on the action in such a large space but I’m putting this down to teething problems.


My favourite scene had to be the flying carpet at the end my nephews and myself were left open mouthed by the impressive visuals of Aladdin and Jasmine flying over Belfast and into the stars of outerspace accompanied by a beautiful duet by the Genie of the Ring (Naomi Rocke) and the very blue Genie of the Lamp (Ross Anderson-Doherty).It is worth the ticket price for this spectacle alone.

I look forward to see what the team come up with next year.

Emer D xx

If you want to catch the show last minute tickets are still available right up until 27th December check out the SSE Arena Belfast website for more.




Theatre Review: Peter Pan at the Grand Opera House Belfast

Apologises on the delay with the review of this year’s Panto in the Grand Opera House. Absolutely no reflection on the production which is off to a snappy start but I ended up with a bad case of the flu and I didn’t want to write this in a flu induced haze as there are so many amazing elements to this year’s production that I wanted to do justice to. I wanted to describe the show with excitement and enthuasiusm.

Peter Pan at the Grand Opera House Belfast is charming with a lot of local influence and some fabulous West End theatrics and darlings. Peter Pan flies on stage and into our hearts accompanied by lots of up beat modern pop songs including Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit.The audience are laughing in the aisles, screaming and shouting the traditional Panto lines and are left wide eyed at the special effects especially this year’s added bonus a 3D adventure through the sea.


Star of the show for me had to be Captain Hook, Musical stage star David Badella. Badella certainly put his own spin on the character earning a reaction of buckets full of Boos and some of the biggest applause on the night as he did things his own way. Look out for Bedellas perfectly timed solo at the end of the performance.

It would be wrong just to single out Bedella as their are so many talented performers in this production our own local superstar May McFetridge is back as the Panto Queen with her right hand shipmate Paddy Jenkins in tow. The poor front row audience got whipped into shape by Mays legendary tongue and quick fired wit and as always the duo had us all in stitches with a bit of a singalong.


Mikey Jay Heath is a fantastic Pan soaring through the auditorium with a cheeky grin. He is joined on stage by not one but four feisty females, the ultimate girl group; Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, Wendy and Mimi the mermaid (Claire King from Emmerdale and Coronation Street) The ladies put there differences and roller boots aside (well done Hollie O Donoghue for staying upright throughout) to help defeat Hook and save the lost boys.

Speaking of Lost Boys the younger performers from the McMaster Stage School shine in their roles. Break dancing and entertaining throughout.

Peter Pan at the Grand Opera House is the classic tale with lots of song,dance and modern gadgets. It should be a crowd pleaser for all ages with crocodiles,fairies and little breakdancing kids. I highly recommend it for a Christmas night out before the end of the run.

Emer D xx

Peter Pan runs until January 14th at the Grand Opera House in Belfast tickets available at