19th January 2019
Heckington Village Hall
Type of Production
Jo Warrick and Stuart Wyle
Author: Peter Breach
Show report – Aladdin (Heckington Players A.D.S)
This reworking by Kei Bailey of his earlier version of “Aladdin” resulted in the delivery of an extremely well-written pantomime featuring all the expected essential ingredients and more besides. Much thought had been given to the casting of the production which brought together a team of players that, under the skillful direction of Jo Warrick and Stuart Wyle, delivered a wonderful example of this type of family entertainment that proceeded at a cracking pace.
Rachel Rowett’s performance as the principal boy “Aladdin”was first class – her acting ability and stage presence rendered her idealy suitable for this role. Although this was Paige Ruddlesdin’s first pantomime performance her time spent studying the performing arts enabled her to produce a very creditable performance. Kei Bailey’s performance as the Dame, Widow Twankey, was outstanding and gave him plenty of oportunity to display his make-up, wigs and magnificent collection of fancy frocks. I feel sure his collection of gowns would have enabled some High Street retailers to stay in profit! The role of “Wishy Washee” was performed by Aaron Pettican who very quickly established a repartee with the audience and other members of the cast as he moved energetically about the stage.
Courtney Hunt, making her debut with Heckington Players, showed much enthusiasm and energy in her performance as the “Genie” to deliberately contrast with the capable Kim Sands who was performing as the relaxed and laid back “Spirit of the Ring”. Matthew Coupland as Police Inspector Lau Zee and Callum Thomas as PC Du Wan were very well paired as the dumb police officers who couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a criminal! Colette Buchanan Gray was ideally cast as the Empress Pang Ting, since she can exude a most imperious manner which no one would dare to question or contravene.
Mel Priestley as Felicity Upmore-Stoppidge was Governess to the Royal children. Unfortunately the children mock her as she is unable to stop herself from breaking into a fit of giggles whenever Inspector Lau Zee appears, who she is in love with. Making use of his strong voice and powerful build, David O’Brien gave an excellent performance as the wicked Abanazar, falsely claiming to be the brother of Aladdin’s late father so that he can acquire the magic lamp. Kate Sydney as Donkor –the Camel Driver very funny; she has the ability to take a relatively small part and transform it into a memorable one in which words are not necessary, as was the case in this panto. Kelly Anderson and Sue Fletcher were the unseen players responsible for propelling Jameela, the camel, in her perambulations on the stage. It was pleasing to see that there were several opportunities afforded to members of the Junior Chorus of this panto when they were able to demonstrate their acting and dance capabilities – they are our future.
This lively production contained much comedy, was innovatively choreographed, the characters were colourfully costumed and the sound and pyrotechnic effects were well timed. No wonder the audience was keen to show its appreciation at the conclusion of this enjoyable “family show”. Well done all who were involved!