27th January 2018
The Kings Hall Ilkley
Type of Production
Andrew Hewitt & John Clark
Author: Jo Sykes
The traditional story of Aladdin was given the Upstagers treatment with a script especially written by Andrew Hewitt and John Clark. The fabulous setting of The Kings Hall was used to great effect by this talented group of young performers.
The hero of the story, Aladdin, was strongly played by Alycia Booth who together with Hattie Dibb as Princess Jasmine gave super performances. Both of these talented young women have clearly got exciting futures ahead of them.
The cast, under the expert direction of Hewitt and Clark, enjoyed themselves as did the audience. Elliot Broadfoot played to great effect the role of Panto Dame, Widow Twankey, giving us all the traditional ‘dame’ gems with a maturity way beyond his years. (Well done for wearing high shoes.) George Scaife’s portrayal of Abanazar was excellent, playing this mean, twisted character with great skill – I enjoyed his songs and dramatic numbers. Joey Wilby demonstrated talent as Wishy Washy. His comic timing was excellent and his interaction with Emma Whitaker-Pitts (The Slave of the Ring) really added to the show. Katherine Griffiths (The Genie) was very entertaining and impressive vocals in the finale song.
There was good characterisation in the smaller roles by Alex Wright and Benny Hick (as PC Ping and PC Pong), Harry Hodge (The Emperor) and Olivia Hoddy (So Shi). I also enjoyed the funny portrayal of Sallah by Sammy Foster, who together with Sam Webster (as Nobby the Panda) completed this young, but very talented cast.
The musical numbers added to the production giving us a mix of the well-known and less familiar songs. I particularly enjoyed the clever twist on Copacabana in Widow Twankey’s laundry. All the soloists were excellent and Musical Director Phil Walsh with his band ‘The Peking Players’ brought the show to life through great live music.
Stunning choreography by Laura Williams enabled the very skilled Senior Dancers to entertain us whilst still feeling that they were very much part of the action and story line. There was some clever use of different forms of dancing and I enjoyed all the routines by the Juniors, Inters and Tinies – very well done. The work which had gone in to producing both Team Emerald and Team Sapphire must be applauded as it gave more young people the opportunity to be part of this fantastic production. The supporting actors and senior chorus worked well throughout the production always keeping in character.
All of the cast clearly projected their lines and the inspired use of accents by some characters was maintained throughout. The set was very effective, making good use of both the stage and auditorium by the performers. The costumes were outstanding for the large cast and the sound and light worked very well. Huge applause to the technical team for the very impressive magic carpet number.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the production.