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St Mary's Drama Group - Aladdin

16th to 19th February 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Laundry laughs

St Mary’s Drama Group: Aladdin, at the Coronation Hall, Kintbury, from Wednesday, February 16 to Saturday, February 19

The Coronation Hall took on an international feel last week with St Mary’s Drama Group’s production of Aladdin. We were in China, at the laundry of Widow Twankee, in Kint Pong.

The panto was written by Gerry Heaton, who passed the bosom and frocks to Chris Trigwell – no stranger to the refrain “there ain’t nothing like a dame” and believe me he ain’t nothing like a dame!

Both are perfect for the role and swap each year.

The Indiana Jones opening grabbed interest from the start. Evil Abanazer, with the help of Tracey – the insolent genie of the ring – soon turned Indiana into a monkey. Nicholas Barrett, as Abanazar, has come a long way since he started with the group and he is now a force to be reckoned with. His timing is excellent, and Ellie Meyer as Tracey is following in his footsteps. I would have liked a little more dialogue between the two to exploit their talents.

We were soon in Kint Pong with its well-made laundry set, which didn’t skimp on detail. I loved the routine with the little lad going through the mangle – well done to Sebastian Enghert and to all the other youngsters who are one of the best rehearsed and disciplined troupes I have seen. Every year they take the show in their stride, know their songs, and lines and can crack jokes as well as, and sometimes better than, the adults.

Congratulations to the backstage team for their hard work and very well-balanced cast.

Audience participation is crucial to panto and this was no exception – particularly when the Grand Vizier (Derek Clements) made his entrance. Nothing phased him – even when the cast and the audience had a sweepstake on the length of his list – G&S style. He managed the royal family, the guards, the wives and the princess, but how he kept a straight face when confronted by the concubine Belli Phluph (Steven Cook), I will never know.

St Mary’s Drama Group can be proud of this performance – no magic lamp produced it, just hard work, talent and enthusiasm.