||Horizontal linen backed original stone lithograph "Aladdin" Bright and vibrant, this is an English pantomime.
The story of Aladdin is associated with the Thousand-and-one Nights cycle (though there is some doubt as to whether it was originally part of that set). The original is set in China, but a very Arabian China (populated with the same genies and magicians that inhabit the rest of the tales). The pantomime has imported the Chinese setting, but in this case, it is a very 19th century English China - hence it is set in a Chinese laundry. (If it were adapted afresh today, it would probably be in a Chinese restaurant.)
Pantomimes are generally well-known (drawn from popular folk-tales and similar sources), populated with stock characters, including a principal boy, generally played by a young lady with shapely legs, the heroine, also played by a young lady (which gives an added edge to the inevitable romance) and a dame, played by a man as a comic exaggeration of a middle-aged lady. Scripts change from year to year, but generally contain four strands of humor: visual, topical, corny and, occasionally, downright rude. In the UK this is considered to be family entertainment.