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Lily Savage reborn: There’s nothing like a panto dame

Lily Savage reborn: There’s nothing like a panto dame

While some may have written Lily Savage off for good after British comedian Paul O’Grady retired his acerbic alter-ego in 2004, fans knew better.

It would be hard to keep the irrepressible Birkenhead blond banished to her bin liner in O’Grady’s garage for too long and so it was that the larger-than-life character was reborn in 2010.

Pantomime – that camp theatrical tradition that has become synonymous with the Christmas season in Britain – proved the perfect platform to re-launch the legendary drag queen.

The iconic star has been sorely missed, so GSN is happy to celebrate her triumphant return.

Savage is a perfect fit as Widow Twankey in Aladdin at The O2’s pop-up theatre, delivering her trademark caustic one-liners and rousing a rather sluggish crowd of grumpy mums and dads, cramped into the London venue’s pop-up theater.

However, her new job running a launderette in old Peking has also meant her usual potty mouth has been put through a hot wash along with her clients’ dirty sundries. Inevitable, of course, considering the younger audience members.

Still, there’s plenty of innuendo-laden gags to snigger at and her star presence proves to have dimmed very little, racing through a wardrobe of ever more outlandish costumes.

A turn dressed as Marlene Dietrich is a particular hoot.

Unfortunately, when Savage isn’t filling the stage with her personality the panto is lifeless and unfunny.

Most of the jokes fell depressingly flat and the showstopping dance and song numbers, though impressively professional, are perhaps taken a little too seriously.

An injection of humor to the routines would have added some much needed irreverent charm.

Nevertheless, it’s great to see Savage back in her element. Next time, maybe she can leave the magic carpet at home and give us a burst of the old scrubber Lily we fell in love with all those years ago

Aladdin – A Wish Come True runs from 7 December to 5 January. To book tickets, click here.