‘Aladdin’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by December 20, 2015

‘Aladdin’, this adaptation of the story was written by Ben Crocker. After studying Drama at Exeter University, Ben continued the family tradition of creating pantomimes – and it shows. Like his other dozen pantomimes, this is a true traditional script, beautifully written on two levels. Crocker has his own theatre company that covers all genres, and has even appeared at the Old Vic.

Ellenbrook Theatre Company Inc. is presenting this world favourite, musical pantomime at the Ellenbrook Performing Arts Centre, 100 Main Street, Ellenbrook. This 130-minute, colourful and most professional show can be seen at 7.30 nightly until Tuesday 22nd December. There are afternoon performances at 2.30 on Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th December. Please be aware that due to the theatre regulations, latecomers cannot be admitted into the auditorium until the interval.

Pantomimes should be filled with vibrancy, colour and an excess of zany props (Richard Hadler, Tony Perry). Immediately you could see that this company was on the right track. The big stage had several large flats, depicting various scenes, including a cave, desert and street scene, all skilfully painted.

         The avaricious and cruel Abanazar (Richard Hadler) boo hiss, tells us of his search for the cave of jewels and treasures. In frustration, he rubs his ruby ring and a beautiful Genie (Amber Moore) appears. He asks her to find the jewels but she explains only one person, Aladdin (Giordarna Rigoli), can enter the cave. Abanazar then sets out to find Aladdin.
        Aladdin’s mother, Widow Twanky (Peter Boylen) is talking to her laundry boy, Wishee Washee (Gerran Turner) and his intelligent pet monkey, Nobby (Aryan Menon – superb) when the palace guards deliver the washing to the widow’s laundry. The loyal, but brainless police, Ping and Pong (Jack Hammon, Tim Ward) announce that the Emperor of China (Nick Stamos) will be arriving soon in his sedan chair, carried by his servants (Damion Brown, Dominic Masterson). They must ensure that no one is around before the Emperor allows his beautiful daughter, Princess Jasmine (Bryony Oliver) to leave the Royal Palace.
        Aladdin and Jasmine manage to meet, and instantly fall in love. When the Emperor discovers this he orders the executioner (Sarah White) to cut off Aladdin’s head. However, Aladdin rubs an old lamp that he found and the bright blue, Genie of the Lamp (Jack Williams) appeared.
       Princess Blossom (Ruby Oliver) and Chelsey Ward danced and sang beautifully, as the mishap and mayhem took place. Will Aladdin die? What will happen to poor Widow Twanky?

The director of this delightful pantomime was Suzanne Perry. Suzanne has completely captured the atmosphere of pantomime’s pure magic. The sets were outstanding; and the very high quality costumes (Jan Oliver, Bryony Oliver, Nicky Stewart) included the Princess’s stunning and opulent clothing, the sublime dancers’ outfits, to the wonderfully horrendous, over-the-top getups of the Dame and Abanazar.
The vivacious cast were word perfect, and moved around the stage adeptly. The delivery of the corny jokes and puns were made with aplomb. Abanazar had wonderful audience rapport, extracting the hiss like a trouper; on the other hand, Widow Twanky, dressed like a Christmas tree, and brought peace, love and humour.
The styles of choreography (Emma Poolman) was varied – from tap to ribbon dancing. The athletic dancers carried out the splits and ‘no-hands’ cartwheels, whilst smiling throughout. The dancers were Holly Burgess, Shirelle Burgess, Jessica Greene, Tylah Maher, Jasmin Pradhan, Kaitlin Pradhan, Summer Roscoe, Lynda Morey-Ludlow, Breannah Rigoli, Bethany Robinson, Samantha Stein, Jade Stewart and Ebony Ward.
There were a group of Cave Sprites (Isaac Angage, Kurtis Angage, Kasey Burgess, Phoebe Marcinkowski, Tsz Kwan Pradhan, Bertie Turrell Knight, Alex Westbrook) – the oh, cute factor – who even though they were around only 5 or 6 carried, out their routine fearlessly and in perfect sync.
The face makeup (Berti Mosso, Sylvia Guest, and Jan Oliver) of the dancers was ornate and perfectly applied.
The lighting was clever with some wonderful effects. The two follow-spots were handled with skill. The high quality soundscape (Suzanne Perry, Mark Turnbull, Tony Perry) had some magnificent sound effects and was one of the best I have heard at a pantomime. The tech operators were Yasmin Perry and Isobel Clare.
On a large show like this, with a massive cast, good stage management is essential well done Tony Perry, Erin Smylie and Megan Jackson.
This show had warmth, fun, colour and most of all magic. A first class pantomime from a dedicated team of performers. Not surprisingly, very few tickets left.