Date 16th January 2020
Society St James Players
Venue St James' Church Hall, Lostock Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Philip Tomlinson
Musical Director Robin Stopford
Choreographer Angela Ross
Producer Claire Couperthwaite


Author: Chris Higgins

Aladdin - St James’ Players 16th January 2020

Well, I’m not really sure how to begin this review - I’m torn between my integrity and my deep rooted feelings of revenge for my unplanned involvement in this production!

I have to say that I was extremely impressed with this Pantomime.  This was a small, but very energetic cast that presented the age old story of Aladdin, Princess Jasmin, the evil Jaffar and of course the pantomime favourites - The Twankys.  I will start by saying that every single member this cast delivered 110% to provide a slick and entertaining show. This is a theatre group with a wide age range and abilities. There were some new faces in this cast that I’ve never seen before in previous shows which was lovely to see.

The production was good, the set simple but very effective and there was a lovely backdrop. The sound and lighting run by Leon Kearns and Dylan Couperthwaite was strong throughout. Weel done to Aladdin played by Paige Couperthwaite, your delivery of the script was clear and singing was strong. Playing opposite Paige as Jasmine was Sarah Mercer, who's script was well paced and well projected and she had lovely vocals in a solo although clearly struggling with illness she still managed to give a very competent performance - well done Sarah. Wishee Washee played by Holly Davey was great at involving the audience and she projected well as a character, cming across very accessible. Unfortunately a stand in of another actor for the role of Abanazar was needed due to Brian Pilkington being unwell, but Andrew Croft gave a fantastic performance and did really well to step in at the last minute although having to use script, his character was great and everything you look for in a pantomime "baddie"! The Genie - Mark Couperthwaite, was very entertaining and a real crowd favourite with his lovely rendition of Friend Like Me, he did a  good job with his character and his audience involvement. Slave of The Ring was a lovely character, delivered by Kath Cann - performed with fun and great energy and her delivery of the rhyming couplets was great. Last, but certainly not least, was Widow Twanky played by Philip Tomlinson - a huge character as the pantomime dame, clearly understanding his role and working very hard to get the audience involved. This is clearly an area of talent for Philip and his comic timing and delivery was outstanding and had the audience laughing out loud on many occasions. Due to my positioning in the auditorium, I became the butt of a few jokes and as previously stated an unplanned performer in this pantomime, which seemed to revolve around the beautiful Widow Twanky! Thanks for that Philip!! The whole cast delivered an energetic and fun performance.

Musical Director - Robin Stopford played live for the whole show and really did a great job on the piano to keep the pantomime running at pace. There was a good range of music with everything from "I Need A Hero" to the "Sweeney" Theme Tune and "One Short Day" from Wicked. I'd like to make a special mention of "The 12 Days of Christmas" - The cast worked really hard and the comedy was well received by the audience - well done.

All in all this was an extremely entertaining performance and a great pantomime delivered by a small grassroots theatre company. I have to say I did not expect to be involved as much as I was although it was great to share a stage with a lovely cast, but it’s fair to say I probably will be sitting on the back row next year!  

Well done everybody.