Aladdin by St. Blazey AOS


 

Puss In Boots
St. Blazey AOS
Keay Theatre

St. Blazey AOS are celebrating their 70th Anniversary in style by bringing us their finest ever Panto at the Keay Theatre. St. Blazey never fail to impress with their professionalism, sheer dedication and love of performing, but they have pulled out all the stops with Aladdin.
Director Mike Meer has loaded the slightly unconventional script with enough laughs to make our sides ache as the wildly funny jokes come thick and fast. Talented and witty he may be, but he is also a tough taskmaster who expects (and gets) professional performances from every member of his cast, nothing less than perfection will do and the cast are willing to dig deep to deliver their very best work.
Musical Director Nigel Read’s score is a triumph with very little of the usual Panto fare, instead we are treated to a superb mash up of brooding instrumental work sprinkled with some fun rap and a dose of 2 Tone; don’t worry if you are a fan of classic songs from the shows – you haven’t been forgotten and won’t be disappointed.
Choreographer Nicky Stephens returns to sprinkle her magic into the mix and Nicky’s work with the youngsters coaxes some outstanding performances, particularly with Piff, Paff, Puff – a mesmerising trio whose perfectly unified timing is spot on.
In 2017 a new little face, Hannah Matthews, stole our hearts with her first ever performance and this year Hannah has been elevated to the much bigger role of Spirit of the Ring. Hannah thrives and shines on stage and is destined to be another name in a long line of tiny performers who rise to take the lead roles in future shows.
Alex Pearce is one such performer who has earned his stripes with the company and richly deserves his role as Aladdin; a lovely young actor with a fabulous voice Alex is relaxed and comfortable on stage. Tara Woollacott is always a delight and turns in her usual top quality performance as Aladdin’s brother Wishee-Washee.
Widow Twankey once again allows Darren Williams the opportunity to shine as Panto Dame and he relishes every minute of his hilariously funny role - this Dame is very much a ‘girl’ with a little bit more.
Bella Lake’s Princess So-Shy is such fun, not your everyday meek and mild Princess – more of a foot stamping, independent young lady who is not too shy to remind us all of her Royal lineage. Kesia Stone as So-Shy’s handmaiden and confidante is also very funny, no subservience for Lo-Tus, here’s a servant who is more than happy to share her opinion of the little madam she works for.
Making the most of their leap to bigger roles are Sophie Skipiol and Joshua Williams as leaders of the totally inept Police force – useless at catching criminals they may be, but their inadequacies make this pairing and their hapless followers very funny indeed.J
James Gill loves his part as the nasty Abanazar, we almost feel sorry for him as his trio of helpers Piff, Paff, Puff are more hindrance than help to their master and their insolence towards him knows no bounds.
Andy Gill’s portrayal of the Genie of the Lamp is superb, the role calls for some extremely quick costume changes including at one point a dressing gown and welly boots, which must be a first for any Genie.
Paul Pearce is the obvious choice to play the Emperor, over the years Paul has made various roles of noblemen his own – pairing him with new girl on the block Grace Withers as Grand Vizier is inspired. The wonderfully snobby Grand Vizier has made her mark working alongside the kindly Emperor for many years; watch out for an unexpected twist with these two.
As we’re in Peking there has to be tea, but there is no traditional ceremony with our resident tea ladies, Ty Phoo and Pee-Gee, the brilliantly deadpan Gina Walker and Oriel Bennett. Armed with an unreliable old tea trolley the two gossips trundle across the stage enjoying a good moan and sharing some excellent jokes.
The strong supporting cast of Village children and Laundry workers are a mixture of familiar and new faces and each plays their part in making Aladdin so very special.
Wardrobe Mistress Sheila Gill and her small team of helpers have worked long hours to create an incredible array of fabulous costumes; Andy Martin and his crew have once again come up trumps with a stunning set, while Jonathan Stamp’s lighting along with James Clarke’s sound skills are top quality.
The cast is large, but there is an even larger number of people behind the scenes who work their socks off every year and must be praised highly for their dedication and tireless efforts; without the unseen army there would be no Panto.
St. Blazey AOS have delivered a truly exceptional show to celebrate their 70th Anniversary, Aladdin is both traditional and refreshingly original – the grand finale is stunning, moving and totally unexpected.
Brilliant, stunning, hilarious – St. Blazey have surpassed all their previous shows, which begs the question ‘How can they top that in 2020?’
Aladdin runs until Saturday 26th January, tickets are available from
www.crbo.co.uk or 01726 879500, be quick as they are selling fast.

Sheila Vanloo
January 2019

 

Article by: Sheila V
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