23rd January 2018
Swan Theatre, Worcester
Type of Production
Gail Moran & Sue Cassidy
Paula Dymock & Lianne Street
Author: Bruce Wyatt
The popular story of Aladdin revolves around his rags to riches life as a washerwomen’s son, who despite not being allowed to gaze at a Princess, spies and falls in love with her. The evil Abanazer seeks wealth and power and attempts to use Aladdin to fulfil this dream, whilst the Spirit of the Ring and the Genie of the Lamp help unravel the story further.
The scene is set by ‘Abanazer’ played with great evil intent by Andy Skelton, who powerfully held our attention and suitably incurred the wrath of the audience throughout. His attractive ‘Spirit of the Ring’ was played with great charm and clarity by Georgia Sproul.
One of the great strengths of this production was the ongoing relationship the principals had with the audience and this was soon capitalised by ‘Aladdin’ (Alex McDonald-Smith), and particularly his brother ‘Wishee Washee’ (Rob Holcroft) and ‘Widow Twankey’ (Barry North). McDonald-Smith maintained an endearing presence and sang well and Holcroft playing the simple son engaged the audience with great fun. Meanwhile it would be difficult to find a more entertaining ‘Widow Twankey’ than North, funny and charismatic, although not always resisting the style of Danny La Rue over the washerwomen.
‘Aladdin’ gazes upon and falls in love with the ‘Princess Mandarin’, played by Emma White, who acted and sang with ease, whilst being well supported by her handmaiden ‘So Shy’ (Vicky Kyte). The Princess’ Mother, the strong and resplendent ‘Empress’ (Anne Osborne) engages the local constables, ‘Yu Dun Wong‘ and ‘Hu Dun Pong’ to tackle ‘Aladdin’ about this misdemeanour. Sisters Cath Skyrme and Sarah Gilhooly worked well together adding a great slice of tomfoolery plus a very effective ‘Sand Dance’. No story of Aladdin would be complete without the ‘Genie of the Lamp’ and this was excellently portrayed in splendid costume by Jake Heaton.
In fact the whole cast were very well dressed throughout. We have come to accept that the dancers provided by Harlequin Stage School perform nothing less than at the highest standard and this was once again the case. The chorus work was polished under the tight orchestral accompaniment, led by Harriet Amos. Sound, lighting and set all complimented this production.
The Directors Gail Moran and debutante Sue Cassidy are to be congratulated and should be extremely pleased with the results and I look forward to ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ next year.