A SMALL child screamed out excitedly "It's nearly Christmas" when the sell-out audience filed out of Shanklin Theatre after watching the opening performance of this year's panto.

Aladdin had got everyone into the festive spirit, in the very British way that pantomime does.

The show was performed by the professionals of Spotlight, and will be on all over the Christmas season, right up until January 2.

It featured all the elements a good pantomime should, including the much-anticipated messy scene Spotlight excels at.

All the performances were faultless, as one would hope from a highly-experienced cast as this one was.

Princess Jasmine was played by Katherine Rashley, who was secure in the main role and has a beautiful edginess to her singing voice.

Aladdin was played by Nicholas Devlin, a welcome newcomer to Island theatre, and he was ably supported by the energetic James Derbyshire as Wishy Washy.

James Pellow was in fine form as Widow Twankie — and here seems an appropriate place to give a thumbs-up to the wardrobe department for a fantastic array of costumes across the entire cast.

Dominic Pope was Genie and also wrote the show, and he always gives a lot of himself on stage, endearing himself to the audience.

Charles Johnson was an excellent baddie as Abanazar, being the brilliant all-rounder he is — and another fantastic singing voice.

Jayne Derbyshire was strong as the Empress of Peking, and Rachael Stratton and Rowan Lathey good comic turns as Nin-Ja and Jam-Ja. A special mention must also go to Jaydene Lee, aerial artist, whose skills added frisson to the show.

Some of the scenes were a bit drawn-out and more innuendo would have upped the belly laughs, but the contemporary tunes, funny jokes and plenty of audience participation helped make this a good show — and the magic flying carpet was a particular highlight.

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