Date 16th December 2021
Society Durrington Theatrical Society
Venue Northbrook Theatre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Julie Jordan
Musical Director Anne Whiteside
Choreographer Carolyn Bennett, Kate Rodriques & Lesley Mates
Written By Ben Crocker


Author: Keith Smithers

This production was my first outing to a pantomime for over two years. This company is well-versed in this art form over many seasons and after the drought of theatrical productions for nearly two years, they came back with a bang.

Abanazar (Lee Payne) was the first to get a good booing with his evil interpretation of the villain. Aladdin (ZoĆ« Green) portrayed a wonderful character and together with Princess Jasmine (India Wells Miller) had some very well-chosen and apposite songs to deliver really delightfully. Ping and Pong (Peter Woodman and Aimee Bullimore) played the Zany slapstick parts of police officers and coped well with the verbal and physical fights. Wishee Washee (Freddie Newman) with Noodles (Kate Rodriques) soon had the audience joining in the fun again.  Widow Twankey! Well - Mark Barnes was loud, over-the top, looked ridiculous and acted out some stupid plots throughout the show. Just how it should have been! The Emperor (John Stovald) had a commanding voice and it suited the part accurately. The Genie of the Lamp (Frances Mansell) portrayed the character well especially when she had to change masters and needed to bring out the humour of working for both an evil and a good person.   

It was lovely to see so many young persons from the junior section of this society on stage. As villagers and attendants, they had quite a lot to learn and sing and dance. It was extremely well executed.

The musicians - just three of them - made a pleasant mix of music that sounded as if there were more of them.

The set was bright and cheerful and very much in keeping with the plot. I understand the painting was all done by Grace Brandon. It was impressive.

Sound and lighting cues were all accurate and executed effortlessly.

One very moving song - Thank you for the Music - was used in the second act and was used as a tribute to their Musical Director for the past twenty-five years, John Woodman, who died this year from Covid. It was a real bitter-sweet few minutes of the evening for those of us who knew him.

Congratulations to one and all, on stage, off stage and helpers. This was a very enjoyable production.