YEOVIL’S Christmas offering whisks its audience back to the Martock suburb of Old Peking, all ready for the retelling of the story of the villainous Abanazar and his plans for world domination.
In his way stands a boy, Aladdin, whose only motivation is love … and as we all know love wins the day. The production reunites old Yeovil friends Thom Ford and Jonny Purchase on each side of the divide.
Thom returns to play an Abanazar whose villainous desires centre around his success as a Shakespearean Actor. Jonny, whose day job is running the Yeovil School of Musical Theatre, is an energetic hero
This new version, written by Paul Hendy, directed by his sister in law Dorcas Wood and colourfully and atmospherically designed by Helga Wood, is strong on comedy, audience participation and traditional routines. Its debt to the late, great Chris Harris is evident in the “mummy” and very messy custard pie routines.
Gordon Cooper plays his first dame at the Octagon, after many years as the hilarious sidekick to Steve Bennett’s Exeter fat women in dresses. He’s perfectly matched by Octagon favourite Jack Glanville as Wishee Washee. When Jack’s on the stage, no matter what goes wrong he will get round it – an irrepressible giggly insurance policy for all.
Sorsha Talbot-Hunt joins the team as the Princess Jasmine, beloved of Aladdin, with George Akid as PC Pongo, John Hester as the Emperor of China and Lizzie Frances returning to the Octagon as the Spirit of the Ring. Her opposite number, imprisoned in the magic lamp, is Anton Stephans, and he too is delighted when he’s freed from the tyranny of the baddie.
This production is big on spectacle and colour, as well as including some subtle and intricate jokes that go right over the heads of the young children.
What it lacks in memorable songs it makes up in fun. It is on until 6th January.