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November/December 2019

Aladin and his Magic Lamp - Limelight Scripts

By Kay Green

NODA review

This show was based on the familiar story of Widow Twankey, who runs a laundry in Old Peking with her two sons, Wishee Washee and Aladdin. The business is on its uppers which is not helped by Aladdin’s aversion to work which is exacerbated by a desire to meet and woo the Emperor’s daughter. The Emperor, who is also broke, is inviting wealthy suitors for the Princess’s hand and execution for any commoners who so much as look at her. Aladdin has already stolen a peach from the palace grounds and has the police on his tail. Meanwhile the wicked magician, Abanazar, needs a pure-hearted young lad to procure a magic lantern from its mountain hideaway and elects to recruit Aladdin. A chance encounter be-tween the Princess and our hero on Peking Square results in the inevitable declaration of love by both parties. Following various alarms and excursions Aladdin’s fortune is assured and the Emper-or gives permission for him and the Princess to marry. Abanazar is stripped of his powers and is forced to marry Widow Twankey and work in the laundry.

The audience, both young and old, responded enthusiastically to the prompting of the cast in the usual pantomime fashion of ‘look behind you’, ‘oh yes you did/ didn’t and boos and cheers according-ly. Dividing the audience up at the end for an alliterative singalong worked well.

The set left room for a fairly large cast and enhanced the story with-out overshadowing it and scene changes were made behind various curtains without slowing the action.

Lighting was used effectively to enhance the scenes, however, the smoke machine was quite intrusive particularly for the front few rows and at times for the cast. Quite a lot of the musical numbers would have benefited from microphones particularly for the younger cast members. I was in the front row and sometimes struggled with the backing overshad-owing the singing.

The costumes were extremely impressive, Abanazar looked suitably malevolent and Widow Twankey’s numerous outfits were cleverly put together each with a suitable wig culminating in a truly magnifi-cent headdress .

This was the fourth of six shows and the cast had settled into their parts well. Abanazar set the scene straight away encouraging the audience to boo and then Wishee Washee kept the theme going by getting the audience to shout his name every time he made an ap-pearance. Widow Twankey and the two policemen indulged in nu-merous asides along with a few local jokes. One of the officers seemed to have a wind problem whenever he bent over ,much to the delight of the audience, especially the younger ones.

In the mandatory ‘look behind you’ scene the junior who played the ghost excelled herself .It would be hard to single out anyone for special praise as it was a great team effort but in the true spirit of pantomime, John Abraham really knew how to play to the house.

KAY GREEN
NODA South East