Aladdin – The Production Exchange
Sutton Coldfield Town Hall
Friday 20th December
By Nigel Gambles
Photography – Lee Williams (WOISC)
Pantomime is an essential part of the Christmas festivities and it returns to Sutton Coldfield Town Hall this year courtesy of The Production Exchange who also presented last years mega hit Beauty and the Beast.
This is a professional production and this shows in the quality and standard of the cast , costumes and sets. The Production Exchange have done a fantastic job in assembling a small but powerful cast all credit to director Colin Blumenau and producer Florrie Wilby.
Ruby Ablett playing Wishy Washy opens the show with a fun filled singing and dancing sequence and leads the audience participation sections with great confidence. She is aided in her audience participations by Jack Alexander, who plays both Hanky Panky, The Chief Constable who leads the young dancers playing constables on some comic almost Keystone Cops style routines; he also plays Gene the Genie with a wonderful comic touch.
Seren Sandham-Davies is the star turn in my humble opinion playing Princess Jasmine, along with choreographing the show. She sings with confidence and enthusiasm and always with a smile on her face, her interaction with Ben Boskovic who plays Aladdin is superb.
The “Baddie” Abanazar (Have a Banana!!) played by Sam Pay is wonderful, greeted by a barrage of boo’s and jeers from a very enthusiastic audience every time he steps on stage. He is part of the stand out double act with Widow Twankey in the second act, more of that in a moment.
Widow Twankey played by Matthew Bugg, who has not played a Panto Dame before so I understand, delivers a stunning performance of the washerwoman. Fierce and bold in the first act and transforming into a temptress to seduce Abanazar to win back the stolen lamp, this is performed to the wonderful Dirty Dancing’s Time of My Life you do not want to miss this, the audience were cheering and howling with laughter.
Musical Director Sue Appleby plays the keyboards holding a lot of the musical numbers together, but also appears as Princess Jasmines mother Empress Double Chin in a great performance with some wonderful Disney villain moves and mannerisms. Finally there is Lung the Lion, the costume is beautiful and played by two of the young ensemble it dazzles in several dance routines and had a wonderful range of mannerisms.
The Director has created a show with life and passion where all the performers are the stars of the show, it’s a modern take but never strays far from tradition.
The fantastic music including songs ranging from George Ezra to Metallica, Queen to the Proclaimers is all performed live on stage by the extremely versatile and talented cast.
The evening runs for around two and a half hours and I have to say that it is so compelling and such a joy to watch I didn’t see any children or adults leaving their seats for a comfort break .
Finally all that is left to be said is that this show is one not to be missed filled as it is with so much laughter, surprises, naughtiness and everything else that goes into making an amazing show you’ll never want to end
Tickets are still available simply follow the link or call the Box Office 10-4 Mon-Fri exc. 25th and 26th December. 0121 296 9543