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A fun-filled, traditional and colourful pantomime, written by Stuart Farrar and Steve Reinsford.  I enjoyed the performance, we laughed at the jokes (however bad they were), joined in all the audience participation and booed the baddie - a very satisfying afternoon!

It was great to have a live band, which to my mind music makes a panto, and Sarah Farrar had chosen some very nice songs, keeping them short, so that no-one got bored, and indeed there were some very good musical performances, the duets between Aladdin and the Princess were charming, as were the numbers using the junior chorus.

I liked the fact that Stuart Farrar’s cast were very diverse in age, which worked really well.  

The sets were quite basic, using backdrops, which had been painted by the Society, with good props.  Lighting was good, as was sound.

Costumes were very good, on the whole, colourful and suitable for the cast.  I particularly liked the costumes for Abanazar, the Princess, Ping & Pong and Widow Twankey.  

Aladdin was played by Allanah Rodgers, in her first leading role – she did very well, delivering her lines and jokes with understanding.  Allanah has a deep voice, which lent itself well to the songs and the part.  An accomplished performance for a young lady.

Amy Farrar was a delightful Princess Truly, she has a lively disposition which lifted the Princess to a more meaningful character, whilst creating good relationships with her handmaidens.  

Lucy Farrar and Hannah Ridley created an energetic duo, Ping & Pong, who interacted well with each other and the audience, and particularly Wishee Washee – I enjoyed their performances.

Scott Newman gave Wishee Washee a very cheeky persona, he is good at this type of role, and created good relationships with Ping & Pong and Aladdin.  

Errol Albert was a great Abanazaar, we loved heckling him, and got some very apt ad-libs in return!  We can always rely on Errol to get right into the character, but to also interact with the audience, and he was nicely evil – which I enjoyed.

Widow Twankey was played by Richard Lovelock, in some very colourful costumes and fun wigs.  I thoroughly enjoyed what Richard brought to the part, and particularly liked Twankey’s yellow skirt and Chinese inspired top – very different.

I enjoyed the characterful camel – it was nice to see something a little out of the ordinary, meaning that it actually fused into the cast rather than being a mere add-on.  Well done to Sarah Albert and Laura Hyde.

The Emperor gave Bill Lovegrove a chance to be the elder statesman to his wayward daughter – which was fun, with Jackie Hensley as the Vizier, a good supporting performance, but not sure about the hairstyle!

I liked the upbeat performance of Kelly Sheppard-Jones as George, the Genie of the Ring – she got lots of fun out of her lib, and created a lively character.

Jonika Kinchin as So Shy lisped her way very nicely through the production, with some very amusing accompanying facial expressions – a fine characterisation.

I liked Barry Hyde’s Genie of the Lamp – again quite lively and Elvis inspired, which suited the part well.

Stuart Farrar accomplished a rather camp very Northern market trader, adding dimension and fun to the proceedings.

The ensemble and junior chorus completed the line-up, and I enjoyed their participation, which was very smiley, adding much to the production.  

The opening and finale were both good, with a lot of excellent songs inbetween.  Choreography was suitable throughout. I loved the percussion effect in the Princess and Handmaidens number – very effective, and everyone kept in time remarkably well.  The choreography for the Genie, Aladdin and Wishee’s number was also very good.

There were lots of good things about this pantomime, and I enjoyed the sheer exuberance created by good use of the musical numbers, and a well-written script, with lots of local references and traditional jokes.

Phoenix Players, the Director and MD, along with the cast, should be proud of their achievements, in what was a departure from the norm for them.

Phoenix Players

ALADDIN” 5th December 2015

@Luton Library Theatre

Director: Stuart Farrar  MD:  Sarah Farrar

Choreographer: Sarah Albert


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