Set in Pekin this Chinese themed pantomime took us all on a journey through China with the hero Aladdin, the son of washer woman Widow Twankey, falling in love with Princess So Shy the daughter of the Emperor of All China! The evil magician Abanazer wants the magic lamp that is hidden in a cave that only Aladdin can enter but he traps Aladdin in the cave with the lamp. Aladdin rubs the lamp to make the genie appear and becomes a very rich man and marries the princess. However, Abanazer tricks the princess into giving him the lamp by offering new lamps for old and he kidnaps her and takes her to his palace in the snow-covered mountains – with the help of his mother and his brother Wishy Washy, Aladdin sets off to rescue her.
With Chinese dragons, Chinese policemen, lots of laundry, a magical cave and many more magical oriental wonders this was a great panto and was enjoyed by all.
A year on from stepping into the principal role in pantoland at the eleventh hour, Hattie Sparke took on the lead in Aladdin for the Cave Players in her own right after September’s auditions. She was joined ably on stage by Neil Harker’s Widow Twankey, and an excellent baddie in Pete Brotherton as Abanazer.
Considering Neil had not joined for this role, he certainly seems at ease and full of life as the dame, though this year he did not have as much chance to go into the audience as Pete did. No one gave me sweets anyway. I enjoyed Abanazer disrupting one of the duets between Aladdin and Widow Twankey.
The producer, Sharon Wood, mentioned in her programme notes about some new faces this time – the most notable this year being Kerry Dervey as Princess So-Shy. I also felt this year that the sets deserved applause too, especially a brilliant cave full of riches and glittering lighting. Well done, Malcolm Clark and team.
It was a long run with seven performances at North Cave Village Hall, with the storyline of the villagers being taxed too heavily by the Emperor of Peking (Bill Watts). I particularly liked a moment when Aladdin and Abanazer came into the audience as if it was part of the set, arguing as they came in search of the cave. It all happened right in front of me, anyway.Tony Barker