Aladdin at Bourton Village Hall

imagesVILLAGE hall pantomime is a uniquely British rural art form.

It has a few essential rules. You must know most of the people on stage. There must be some local jokes.

Children from the village will come and dance and sing.

The costumes will be colourful.

Lots of things will go a little bit wrong, but that won’t spoil it at all.

And the whole thing will raise funds for local charities AND the hall in which you watch.

So Bourton’s Aladdin, on until Saturday 31st January, is an absolute exemplar of the genre.

Written and directed by villager Emma Bevan, it manages to transform the little hall (part of the profits will go to the new hall fund) into the colourful and exotic settings of China and Egypt.

Eight local children are dancing their legs off, and singing too.

We all know the story well enough that if a bit gets missed out, it doesn’t really matter.

Widow Twanky is played by Les Jones in the manner of Mrs Brown, given some hilarious lines to deliver in a quickfire monologue.

Newcomer Mike Chapman brings his sonorous voice and impressive presence to the villainous Abanazar, and Jim Mann and Mike Smith are the genies of the ring and the lamp, one limply camp and the other full of health and safety advice (what a rich well H&S has provided for panto scriptwriters!).

Abigail Smith returns to the Bourton stage as principal boy, with debutante Amy Bennett as her princess. Emma Bennett has given them some cleverly modern lines to cut the saccharine.

Emma Martin is a bubbly Wishee Washee, and Louise Bennett is adds to the exoticism with her excellent belly-dancing.

There are lots of flashes and bangs, terrific costumes including a change for the walk down, and everyone has a terrific time.

And I even heard some recruiting for next year’s show during the interval.


Posted in Reviews on .