A panto that shows the best side of London

ThisIsLondon.co.uk – Richard Godwin

For anyone in need of cheer this Christmas, I prescribe the Hackney Empire’s pantomime, Aladdin. It is a celebration of the civilised values, a defence of diversity and multiculturalism that makes you proud to be a Londoner.

The main character, Aladdin, is half-Arabian and half-Chinese, yet somehow white. He and his possibly gay brother, Wishy-Washy, grew up in a single-parent family – that single parent being a black transvestite called Widow Twankey. All are the subjects of a possibly mentally ill African queen who is also a cockney and engaged in a sort of menage a trois with two northern policemen. It’s not that no one bats an eyelid at these set-ups – they make an un-PC joke and move on. “It skipped a generation,” quips Clive Rowe’s magnificent Twankey, referring to the whiteness of his two sons.