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KATS - Aladdin

21st to 23rd February 2013.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Cool KATS in panto

Aladdin comes to Thatcham - great family entertainment

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society: Aladdin, at Kennet School, Thatcham, from Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, February 23

KATS presented Aladdin this year and author and chairman John Hicks chose to write the script in the traditional style, adhering to the well-known storyline.

As always with KATS, it was packed with good ideas and excellent production values which all added up to great family entertainment.

A lively cast, full of enthusiasm, under the direction of Janet Kilgallon-Brook and Mandy Cole, told the much-loved tale well. In the eponymous role, Caroline Cole gave us a very likeable and robust characterisation, while Gemma Cole was a charming and lovely Princess Jasmine.

As Widow Twanky, Kim Jakubiszyn injected tremendous energy and flair and made this role, usually played by a man, her own - well done. Dave Scanlan thoroughly relished his role as Abanazar - using his theatrical voice and good presence to portray the nasty villain of the piece.

There were sterling performances from Mandy Cole and Eileen Paula as the dozy Scrub and Scrape and Robert Cole gave a brilliant comedy performance which delighted as Wishy Washy. The Genies appeared in puffs of smoke and Craig Robinson was extremely good value as the camp Genie of the Lamp and there were good supporting portrayals from Nick Prince and Chrissie Watson-Taylor as the Emperor and Empress, Lee Battersby as the Grand Vizier, Alison Brownfield, Genie of the Ring and the fantastically costumed Flame the Dragon (Sue Bennett).

Costumes as usual, were striking, the set attractive and well managed and the lighting was well cued and effective. Great fun was had in the laundry and the mangle sequence (and the subsequent re-inflation of Wishy Washy!).

There were some lively musical numbers ranging from show tunes to pop and these were well executed with choreography from Gemma Cole and Claire Bowden.

I felt that the show was too long, especially for a children's entertainment and some of the dialogue could have been pruned. Original scripts are most commendable and brave but always need a little testing to refine them. However, after a rip-roaring finale and listening to the comments as I left the building, a terrific time was had by all.