Date 2nd February 2024
Society TADS Theatre Group
Venue TADS Theatre, Toddington
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Darren Adams
Choreographer Emma Lidford
Written By Harry Rodgers


Author: Richard Lovelock

Always listen to your audience – and by the cheers and adulation provided by the theatre goers at TADS’ “Time To Get A-Lad-In” then this was a roaring success. Lots of rude jokes, crude inuendo and singalong songs that really fitted the demographic of those in attendance.

Taking a previously used children’s pantomime and making it ‘adult’ is not a new concept and one that has worked well previously and the spontaneity of changing the script often is a success. However, as a piece of theatre this one was a little bit hit and miss. The show appeared to be very under rehearsed, there were even acknowledgements in the show to the three-week rehearsal period.

The script by Harry Rodgers which had been used to such good effect for the children’s version maintained a lot of very good elements, plenty of pantomime storyline and routines which are so often ignored for adult versions.

The pre-show routine from Director Darren Adams and Harry Rodgers worked well. Using an audience member to supplement the cast is a risk but they engineered a way to ensure they had an ideal candidate to play the magic carpet. The pace throughout was good and it kept the story going. There were some classical moments of laughter, I particularly like the ‘three chairs’ line and the ‘If I Were Not Upon The Stage’ which was very well worked.

Simon Tuck as Dame Widow Twankey was excellent and his adult interaction with the audience worked really well - it was nice to see several costume changes for him. Emma Lidford as Fishee Washee also stood out and gave a really good pantomime performance with a touch of adult rudeness. Emma also choreographed the show, no major routines but enough movement to please the eye.

Tracey Chatterley as Abanazar got a few boos and shout outs but probably over egged the swearing. Her side kick the Genie Of The Ring was played by a very camp Dave Hillman - who appeared to be enjoying himself far too much!  Amelie Rocha played Jasmine quite straight which suited the role.

The comedy duo of Ann/Filth and Summer/Fuzz played by Emily Rust and Connie Wiltshire ran around the stage with gusto although without the assuredness that a full rehearsal period would have given them. Aladdin played by Daniel Hawkins-Difalco had a great interval change into an Ali-G type prince which worked really well, and Susie Conder as the Sultana eased her way through the whole production.

I found the Genie Of The Lamp played by Chris Hopkins a bit of a strange sight - having the Genie as a ‘Del Boy’ type of character worked and he kept up the characterisation throughout very well, the sheepskin coat and cigar fitted in, I just struggled with the blue two piece which seemed completely out of place. Otherwise, the costumes suited the characters.  

The sound and lighting generally worked well, but a couple of unintentional hiccups appeared along the way which is unusual for TADS.

I felt that the TADS adult pantomime was a bit of a poor relation to the children’s version, a bit of an afterthought and for its popularity it deserves equal footing. Although I saw some deficiencies and areas for improvement it remained a fun and enjoyable show.

After all – what do I know? I was in the minority - the rest of the audience cheered, stood and wanted more!

Richard Lovelock  D3 NODA East

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