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Aladdin's Magic Lamp

Date

7th January 2018

Society

Ace Theatre Group

Venue

The Marven Centre, Sawston, Cambridge

Type of Production

Pantomime

Director

Carol Wratten

Musical Director

not credited - taped music

Choreographer

Carol Wratten

Report

Author: Decia Ranger

After twenty five years of directing and choreographing her annual pantomime and raising many thousands of pounds for various charities, Carol Wratten has decided it’s time for a change.  Not that she intends vacating her Director’s chair or hanging up her dancing shoes any time soon. Instead, by this time next year a new group, especially for young people, will have emerged, together with a new name and with Carol at the helm.  I wish her every success with this new venture.  In the meantime here is the final show report for Ace Theatre Group.

The Society likes to do pantos with a twist and this production was no exception.  I think every pantomime character I could think of put in an appearance. The reason for this was that Aladdin’s lamp had been stolen by Abanazar.  This rendered it useless and without its magic powers Goldilocks, Cinderella, Snow White and their pantomime friends could not bring their stories to the happy ending in the fairy tales, so they came to ask Aladdin for help.  This was a nicely thought out storyline, written I believe by the Director although she is not credited with doing so in the programme and I think she should be.

The venue was full to the rafters for this final performance which made for a good atmosphere. The show opened with a prologue followed by a scene set in Peking.  Here we saw a nice uncomplicated dance routine which appeared to be nicely within the capabilities of the dancers. As a result it was well executed.  I did make a note at the time though that it was rather long.  The music throughout the show was taped, which on the whole worked well.  There were just a few times when the choice of accompaniment seemed very heavy, bringing it too much to the fore, rather than allowing the singers and dancers to be the focus of attention. 

There were a lot of young people in this production so the standard of acting was bound to vary according to their individual experience. However everyone looked as though they were really putting their all into their roles and enjoying what they were doing.

A strong performance from Kirsty Wright as Aladdin. Confident acting, excellent stage presence and a lovely singing voice. Ali Wright as Grimes was the perfect foil for her off-stage sister.  A very good all round performance with great comedic touches.  Very well done to both.

An outrageous pantomime dame is of course a must and Martin Redgewell really rose to the occasion as Widow Twankey.  Terrific over-the-top costumes, wigs and make-up, just as it should be.    

Well done to Suran Jayathilaka on his good confident performance as Abanazar and Richard Cook made us all laugh as a rather comical Robin Hood, before morphing into a scary but very well played Captain Blackhead. 

The role of the princess was smaller than in the conventional story, due I assume to the fact that her wedding to Aladdin is already arranged and the story has moved on.  Dushani Dahanayake played the part nicely but she was very quietly spoken and without adequate amplification it was rather difficult to hear her at times.

All the other young members of the cast played their pantomime characters well.  The modern day electric guitar playing Genie was a nice twist.  Well done to Thomas Gammon for taking on this role.

The musical accompaniment for the most part was good and came in on cue. Unfortunately though there were times when it was difficult to hear the children singing above the music.   

The costumes by Jenny Joyce and Amanda Crabb were really lovely and the scenery very well designed and painted.  The inclusion of an underwater scene with fluorescent fish and other under water creatures was very effective and cleverly thought out.

It was obvious a lot of hard work had gone into bringing this final production to the stage. Well done to all involved and thank you for inviting me.