The local British National Theatre of America is calling its show "packaged for Americans," and, wouldn’t you know, it features low-brow humor, simple sight gags and other silly stuff that we culture-deprived United Statesmen are reputed to adore.
But "Aladdin: A Panto in Two Acts" is really not insulting at all. Rich Perkin and Jeynifer Tribbitt’s script is a gorgeous take-off on the well-known fairy tale. It’s about good guys and bad guys in Vegas and makes smart use of improvisation, audience participation, song and dance.
The people behind this are genuinely skilled theater folk. Jeff Tribbitt gets things going by dragging people from the audience and forcing them to participate in pre-show skits. As Aladdin’s mother, he’s domineering, self-pitying and a hell of a lot of fun. Melissa Mihovich is the enchanting title character, and when she lets loose on a number, she pumps extra fire into a hot show. Candace Du Plessis makes the genie a disheveled, collage of womanhood, with unruly (but still attractive) glittered hair that looks as if its been stuffed in a bottle for a couple of hundred years. And Miles Coleman as a casino surveillance man is nerdy and sincere.
The songs — with adapted lyrics by Moran Tribbitt — take pop hits (Lady Gaga, Elvis, Queen) and transform them into plot-moving spectacle.
Director Jennifer Tribbitt keeps amazing control over a world that could have easily spun away.
Don’t be a snob. Go see it.
Anthony Del Valle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.REVIEW
What: "Aladdin: A Panto in Two Acts"
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday
Where: Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center, 1771 Inner Circle