HATHERSAGE: Aladdin a shining example of community spirit

Aladdin at Hathersage Memorial Hall
Aladdin at Hathersage Memorial Hall

You can always count on Hathersage Players to roll out surprise after surprise at panto time.

Pantomime horses are ten a penny - but have you ever seen a ten-legged dancing dragon?

The colossal creation - made by Melanie Jennings - is brought to vivid life by five youngsters whose carefully constructed choreography ensures that this dragon never puts a foot out of place.

While the dragon may slay the audience with its stunning appearance, it’s given a run for its money by doe-eyed Camilla the camel whose humps are represented by the heads of Jane Richardson and Chrissy Percival.

Like the trademark song, this production of Aladdin is offering a Whole New World of fun.

Home-grown scriptwriters Chris and Katie Tupling have taken key elements of the traditional Arabian Nights tale and the Disney movie and woven them into a story which is accessible to all ages.

An enormous amount of work has gone into adapting the lyrics of pop hits and well-known songs from the shows to suit the story.

The children’s song and dance sketch has the aah-factor in bucket loads, and older dancing girls light up the stage with their mesmerising moves to Genie In A Bottle.

Baddie Abanazar is portrayed as an illusionist enabling a couple of magic tricks and a chance for Peter Miles to give his customary spellbinding performance.

As Aladdin, the lad with lamp, Emily Upton’s performance shines brightly as do her songs, a couple of which she performs with leading lady Emily Gait who makes a sweet Princess Jasmine.

Chris Tupling is a big hit as the tall, skinny dame Widow Twankey and his make-up is a work of art.

Young Jamie Benson, playing Wishee Washee, connects well with the audience and has great vocal projection.

Victoria Crooks is a star as the Vizier’s wife looking down her nose at the common people and her quality performance is matched by that of Liam Shaw playing the wannabe babe magnet Prince Pekoe.

Comedy - and some very bad jokes - comes in the shape of the hopeless Chinese police force CHUMPS, led by Sgt Typhoo, characterised by Sean Jennings.

Kat Hollis adds to the fun factor as the energy-saving Genie of the Lamp, Ten Watt, while Annie Allen, in the role of Genie of the Ring, works her magic on imaginative dance routines.

For sheer energy, the Gangnam Style song and dance sketch is the piece de resistance.

This exquisitely costumed production of Aladdin is accompanied by a six=piece band and runs at Hathersage Memorial Hall until Saturday, February 23.

GAY BOLTON

Photo by simonbullimages.co.uk