Hackney outdoes the West End yet again

I’ve just returned from the Hackney Empire, where this year’s pantomime, Aladdin, was noisily enjoyed by a full house and proving yet again that you don’t need either Pamela Anderson or a theatrical knight playing the dame to deliver the best seasonal entertainment in London.

And at the risk of sounding pious, multi-ethnic Hackney (which becomes that well-known suburb on the eastern side of Peking, Ha-ka-ney) and the melting-pot of cultures that make up modern London are not only appropriately reflected in the mixture of musical styles and language of the performance but enhance its vitality and humour.

What is more, tonight’s entertainment was enlivened by the sight of no less a personage than Professor Tony Travers, Director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics, sitting in the stalls – and desperately¬† trying to maintain his customary gravitas while joining in the words (and the actions) of “The Panda Mime Song”.


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