Aladdin & The Pirates

Date 2nd December 2017
Society Egerton Players
Venue Egerton Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Yvonne Smith & Neil-Crossley-Roberts
Musical Director Ciara Crossley-Roberts

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

The tech corner was full of equipment and with stalwart John Sewell always in his element with his magic, together with Neil Crossley-Robert’s sound input, advisor Dave Austin and Follow Spot Operator Patrick Crossley-Roberts, wonderful effects were created – even if the appearance of some back projections were not always accurately cued. They looked amazing from Peking city to the Palace gardens, the pirate ship added an exciting dimension. The seasonal finale was a spectacle with snowflakes projected and falling.

Two small red boxes painted with black dragons guarded the effects box for the two genies explosive appearances. Good use of space for the large cast and use of the blacks between scenes and creating comedy with the baddies – high and low and for Aladdin’s incarceration behind bars worked very well. Thunder claps and storm added to the drama, encouraging more audience reactions.

Wardrobe was outstanding – great thought to the Chinese influence with frogged fastenings on embroidered oriental jackets and tunics in vivid colours, mandarin collars, coolie hats, a delightful penguin Monty cheekily was played by Trina Mealham, and the bright yellow chicken disguise even with a tail feather for Aladdin’s beautifully created by Sylvia Tillman and her assistants. Finishing touches from makeup artist Shirley Staddon were first class – with the hair designs and use of hair sticks excellent.  Footwear good, as was pirate headgear. The props team provided perfect dressing with chests and magic lamps ‘new for old’ good number using gilt money plates most effective and drinks trolley well equipped for the amusing cocktail shaker sequence with the crushed ice, vintage vermouth etc culminating in an enormous burp! 

Live music was directed by Ciara Crossley-Roberts supported by three talented musicians. Good popular musical choices for solos, harmonious duets with ensemble work clear allowing audience clap alongs, with lyrics well mastered.

An excellent script included local references, with the cast doing a great job with fast sequences using the same initial letters well executed throughout. Action packed good strong movement – great swashbuckling. Skeleton dancing in dayglo, ‘he’s behind you’ ghostly appearances choreographed beautifully.

So with plenty of colour, back projections to exotic places we were transported with Aladdin in good singing voice played by Tom Parkin, with Princess Eugenie elegantly played by Emma Clarke. Tony Withersby was willowy laundry proprietress Widow Twankey. A great pair of pirate baddies – Mac Mercer a strong Captain Abanazer, a frightening ‘boo’ maker – camply assisted by Chris Stevens as Boney Malone. Comedy corn came in the guise of white suited PC Plonk and Inspector Plunk, well carried off by Welsh Fiona Fraser-Pritchard, and tiny Sue Johnson wheeling her truncheon. Very nice pairing - Anne Rayner as Beth with articulate Helen Hocking as Wishee Washee mastering tongue twisting script. The two opposing Genies were particularly well played, one Genie of the Ring rather laid back in gold with a great turban and droopy wand and the other full of eastern promise in black as Gene. The School Dancers were a group of wonderfully drilled pupils adding to the community spirit. Strong support came from other characters, chorus and well-disciplined pirates. The debut co-directorship was admirable.