The Bristol Hippodrome has opened its doors to a star-studded pantomime, Aladdin, produced by QDOS Entertainment. The fairy tale world of old lamps, wishes, genies and magic rings is brought stunningly to life by squeaky voiced comedy veteran Joe Pasquale, as Wishee Washee teamed with smouldering 1980s pop icon, Marti Pellow as the dark wizard Abanazar.

Aladdin is simply stunning. A big, lavish production, based in Old Peking, it has love, sorcery, wishes, music and a range of fantastical beasts that are a little bit frightening! The pantomime opens with Abanazar invoking the spirit of King Kong. Enter a lifelike gorilla the size of a house, with a great booming voice and a litheness of limb that make it look like it could run into the audience at any second. The small children next to me were so hysterical their family went home in the first scene! (Adults and older children loved it). Less terrifying, the gangly model of the genie of the lamp, with a Bristolian accent and comic turn of phrase.

The special effects are epic. The flying carpet projected in 3D, coasting across the auditorium. And the centre piece – a 3D film descending into Abanazar’s underworld lair, with hissing snakes springing out to within touching distance, screeching rats, snapping crocodiles and volcanoes with flying lava. The whole audience was darting around, squirming but enthralled.

Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee keeps the action flying along with a whole host of eye-rolling jokes. He also puts off his fellow actors for unscripted laughs. Widow Twankey, played with brilliant comic effect by David Robbins has fantastic stage presence and an amazing wardrobe, with costumes that are both garish and comically ridiculous. The rich, beautiful and sparkly costumes reflecting the exotic east are beautifully realised in an elaborately bejewelled Empress of China and the lovely costumes worn by the “babes” of The Bristol School of Dancing.

The dark wizard, smouldering Marti Pellow as Abanazar, has a fantastic pedigree. First shooting to fame with Wet Wet Wet in 1982, with 25 hit singles and a host of musical theatre and West End productions to his name, he is unsurprisingly brilliant. As well as singing, he co-wrote three of the songs, including Abanazar’s Magic, Why Does No One Care? and One True Love. I have to say his disco number, when he enters his underworld lair, is toe tappingly fabulous.

Hayley Tamaddon, who plays Princess Jasmine, has starred in Emmerdale and Coronation Street, as well as touring with productions of Spamalot and Chicago. Her costumes are beautifully elaborate as the Princess Jasmine. She captures our hearts through a number of duets and dances with our hero Aladdin, played by an engaging Alexis Gerred. Kimberley Blake plays Scheherazade, mistress of the magic ring, with dazzling poise. In general, the dance routines are slickly choreographed, the action is well-paced and the orchestra does a sterling job of keeping up – and backtracking. All in all the production is quite a rollercoaster ride – but jolly good fun.

Aladdin’s fantastic jaunt into Old Peking is only available until January 7, 2018, so book tickets today, and strap yourself in for the magical carpet ride of a lifetime!