REVIEW: Carlinghow Theatre Company’s Aladdin

The magic of pantomime was exploited to the full by members of Carlinghow Theatre Company when they staged the fascinating story of Aladdin at Batley Town Hall last weekend.

Their extensive talents were given full rein by the company’s chairman Jane Griffin who used her wide experience of stage work to not only write the script – her second - but also to direct the production with such amazing precision that the players embraced her demand for high performance standards.

It meant that lots of panto traditions - the exchange of repeated chants between performers and audience, the animosity shown to evildoers and the overwhelming support offered to brave characters - were present in abundance.

But so were varying twists and turns of the plot which placed this pantomime high on the performance scale and meant the audience was always being challenged with a variety of tantalising storylines.

To this riveting performance was added a stunning schedule of song and dance routines from confident principals and an amazing all-age chorus which executed the demanding choreography of Amanda Eyre with tremendous precision.

Amanda was already presenting a classy performance as the leading character Aladdin and merged well with Melanie Dixon to provide the love interest in the story.

They were helped in turn by Katie Flynn as the fascinating Spirit of the Ring and Jenny Alexander as the all important Genie of the Lamp which made such a difference to the story.

Without doubt though the performances which captured the hearts of the audience were those of Nigel Dixon who showed his wide stage experience to produce one of the best Widow Twankey performances ever seen on local stages and that of Gareth Jones as the determined, demon possessed Abanazer who brought real drama to the setting.

Their tussles were re-inforced or reprimanded in turn by the appearances and appeals of many other important roles played out by Lisa Cockcroft, Andrew Holdsworth, Adam Schewtschuk, Iain Harknett, Alan Sykes and Olivia Griffin.

Each contributed to the tremendous overall effect as did the company’s technical staff whose work with the lighting, sound systems and various set changes made this a pantomime which not enraptured the audience but set a challenging performance standard for others to aim at.

Members of the chorus and dance troupes were Hollie Parker, Holly Jackson, Ellie Crawshaw, Harriet Wagstaff, Louis Ashpool, William Wagstaff, June Schewtschuk, Alexandra Griffin, Amelia Battle, Anna Holmes, Chloe Barnes, Emily Warring, Chloe Russell, Amelia Glover-Jewesbury, Jessica Stelling, Gabrielle Munslow, Rachel Stirk, Lauren Sykes, Evie Sykes, Phoebe Whittaker, Milly Bamford and Imogen Battle.