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Drama Club Archive

Aladdin Review
by Steve Taylor

Undaunted by threats of snow, swine flu, economic downturn, global warming, and piles of rubbish in the streets awaiting collection, Wrington Drama Club’s pantomime Aladdin went off with a bang (several loud bangs in fact) to herald January with a great beacon
of happiness and laughter.

Director Fred Cowgill must have often felt as if he was trying to herd cats, as he drew all the disparate elements of pantomime together.

Working with a wide range of ages, temperaments and acting talents, he led them successfully to a peak where it was clearly as much fun for those on stage as for the audience.

Julie Kingcott and Lisa Lipman’s young protégés (or should that be prodigies?) of Wrington Youth Drama Group dancedtheir socks off and sang their hearts out as skeletons, prisoners and policemen.

Paul Martin once again provided his delightfully sparky piano playing and sound effects, and Don Guy, Mark Bullen and Jim Swords and their crews ran tight ships off stage.

The rôle of Aladdin was played in classic Principal Boy style by the glamorous Amy Bugler. Her natural ease, and gorgeous long legs, were set off by her willingness to interact with the crowd and
send herself up.

Adding to the eye candy quota were the haughty Princess Martini (yes, all the puns you can think of were dragged in) played wittily by Ellie Thomas, and Ting Ming, her lady in waiting, a subtle and utterly
beguiling performance from Sarah Osman.

Far from subtle, Sarah’s father Steve Osman dragged up to give us a suitably outrageous Widow Twanky. It cannot have been easy for such a self-effacing, gentle man to depict the very depths of vulgarity and venality in front of his family and friends, but he pulled it off with panache. “A parody of virtue”, as Abanaza called him.

Joyously deficient in subtlety also was Ali Taylor in the
rôle of Won Ton, the hapless violinscraping, ratjuggling
sidekick of the infamous villain Abanaza.

The latter part gave Phil Georgetti the opportunity to
expand his natural acting talent, first seen in his recent debut as Friar Tuck, into a rollicking rabble-rousing tour de force.

All hell was let loose just after the interval as, with a mighty bang and flash, the Genie of the Ring burst onto the stage. Mark Halper, a dynamic giant of a genie in pink pantaloons and turban, pranced, roared and flung himself about with comic book abandon, and set the
whole theatre alight. Any remaining spectators who had resisted the urge to join in the fun were swept along by a tsunami of singing and shouting, cheering and booing.

In complete contrast to Mark was his colleague, the omnipotent Genie of the Lamp, played in low key ultracool mode by Luke Graham. Wearing something irresistibly resembling a tea cosy on his head, he
nonetheless carried it off with aplomb.

In another part of China (or was it Wrington?) Drama Club regulars Peter Langley (the Emperor) and
Echo Irving (the Empress) both impeccably costumed, held sway: he, the henpecked wouldbe golfer, all for a quiet life, she the bossy harridan: “Marriage first; execution afterwards”.

I was privileged to see several performances (my better half being involved) and they went from good,
early in the run, to superb by the final evening. There isn’t space to mention everybody - so my apologies to those whose names have been omitted.

This was a great ensemble effort, and the people involved, on stage or off, can all be proud of their parts in it.

Photos by Papa Ratzo