REVIEW: Aladdin

SUCH is the enthusiasm for the Woolstore pantomimes that inevitably an extra evening has to be scheduled to keep up with demand.

This year was no different as the production of Allan Freyn’s Aladdin played for seven nights and two matinees over two weeks at the beginning of December.

The scene was set for the mystic Far Eastin Egypt and Old Peking with sumptuous costumes and colourful sets.

Tegan Taylor at 17 is a veteran performer, first appearing on stage at the Woolstore when she was just eight years old.

Gary Poole in drag as Widow Twanky was in turn enthusiastically flirtatious and ridiculous, aided and abetted by an impish Grace Wright, aged nine, making her debut as the mischievous Wishy Washy.

Without doubt the scene-stealing frenetic performances were given by Angus Bramwell and Alan Biggs as the comic Chinese cops Hu- Dun Pong and Yu-Dun Wong. Their frantic racing around stage and wonderfully comic pronunciations were examples of masterly timing and perfect casting.

Matt Smith gave a truly sinister sneering performance as the villain of the piece, Abanazar, and Caron Merchant was a sprightly and colourful Spirit of the Ring; Colin Smith a quietly spoken Genie of the Lamp and Louise Nash played The Empress.

This was a very young cast with many primary school children in the chorus; they were obviously having a wonderful time and no doubt some of them are the stars of the future.

Amanda Harris had once again designed and painted the sets – the final Willow Wedding was stunningly designed and dressed with the cast members in shades of blue and among the gorgeous costumes were some beautiful original pieces.

The run proved a tremendous success and a perfect introduction to the festive season.

Romy Wyeth

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