Aladdin by David Baker, David Mackay, Debbie Chester, Robert Russell and Barbara Holt
23rd March 2012
Type of Production
Kerry Hewish and Tina Wetzel
Author: Don McKay
We received a very warm welcome from the easily identified Front of House Team, lead by RaeAnna Hammerbacker, who showed us to our seats in the fabulously decorated auditorium, in the style of a Cairo street market. Whilst waiting for the show to start we were entertained in great style by three talented belly dancers, courtesy of Kim Hall and Vanessa Chipsham. Just prior to curtain up we were also entertained by an unknown sound sensitive illuminated bongo player, who was excellent but unfortunately not named in the programme. The two sets were beautifully designed by Ken Smith and well built by the Team of set builders. John Wilcock managed the stage and scene changes very well and provided perfectly timed pyrotechnics, however Anne Lea who is credited with the curtain, was a distraction in quite a few scenes, as her hand was unnecessarily visible. The Lighting, Sound and Video designed and operated by Dave Maltby and Kate Maltby was perfect, and especially memorable in the escape from the cave scene. Lesley Willcock’s costumes were among the very best I have seen this season. The make up and hair team of Vicky Wakefield, Shona Wakefield and Eloise Wakefield, did a good job except for Aladdin’s make up, which I found to be quite scary and inappropriate. The props by Phillippa Patel, Sue Dixon and Sally Kisgeretz were imaginative, well made and sourced. Aladdin the Pantomime, was a fantastic adaptation by the in house writing collaboration team of David Baker, David Mackay, Debbie Chester, Robert Russell and Barbara Holt. It contained absolutely all of the elements you would expect in a Panto, with a good mix of standard and contemporary musical numbers, well perform by the ensemble, and accompanied excellently by Musical Director Sarah Rees and the Band. There was plenty of audience interaction, with well earned cheers for a fantastic Dame, in the form of Wolfie Hammerbacker as Widow Twankey, and triumphant boo’s for a terrific bad guy played by John Hill as Abanazar, who both fielded friendly heckling hilariously. Aladdin was played competently by Kyna Simpson, who worked very well with John Harrison and Sophie Arneill as Tosis the Camel. Vicky Ivell and Martin Findlay were both very pleasant as Princess Yasmin and Wishey Washee. Dave Watson was great in the role of Kassim, ably supported by the comically well timed duo of Harriet Haynes and Kerry McNair as Wazim and Achmed, all three of whom were henchman to the evil Abanazar. We were guided through the adventure by two story tellers, Saleem and Abdul, played by Marianne Etherington and Lesley Bowring, who did a very good job between them. Aladdin’s wish to become rich and famous innorder to obtain Princess Yasmin’s hand in marriage, was granted by the magnificent Genie of the Lamp played by Richard Binks, nobody sleeps when he’s on. I thoroughly enjoyed this cleverly written traditional Pantomime, as did the appreciative audience. Jeremy Crook’s Direction was simple, imaginative and very effective. Well done Melodramatics.