Aladdin, the Pantomime

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Caldbeck Players presented Aladdin the Pantomime in Caldbeck Parish Hall on January 22, 23 and 24 with a cast of all ages from 7 to 70. The audience were met by the colourful spectacle of Persian minarets designed and painted on the backcloth by Rebecca Brockbank followed later by an opening and closing cave designed by Anne Cartmell and painted by Rebecca Brockbank and Bridget Cox and a Scottish scene designed and painted by Hannah Stevens. Overall set design was by Anne Cartmell. Lighting was by Joseph and Michael Stockdale and Roger Gook, punctuated from time to time by magical flashes of light and smoke (John Christian in charge of the Smoke Machine) and rumbles of thunder (Andrew Ward in charge of Sound Effects). The costumes were a riot of colour made or adapted by a team of seamstresses comprising Carol Bolton, Anne Cartmell, Robert Kenning (who made his own Widow Twankey costumes), Carol Slinger, Antoinette Ward and Diane Woodham. Barbara Mitchell transformed the faces and heads of the cast with make up and hair styles. The music covered a great range including adaptations of well known folk songs, Gilbert and Sullivan, Orlando Gibbons, Bach, songs made popular by Ken Dodd, Elvis Presley and Arthur Askey, and songs from musicals – all accompanied with her usual aplomb by Lorraine Gash who also played part of Ketelberg’s “In a Persian Market” on the piano. There were also three action songs in which (some of) the audience participated. Antoinette Ward was the Producer/Director and Karen Atkinson arranged the choreography.

The following is a copy of a review of the performance itself by Keith Richardson which was printed in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald on 9th February and in the Keswick Reminder:

Striptease – with elasticated drawers
By day he’s a dentist working in Keswick’s Fitz Park Dental Practice, but at night Robert Kenning was transformed into the colourful, totally outrageous and larger than life character Widow Twankey in Caldbeck Players’ latest and highly successful production, Aladdin the pantomime.
While Robert’s wonderfully over the top performance could not help but catch the eye, he would be the first to say he was only one of a wide-ranging team of excellent amateur players who acted, danced, laughed and sang their way across the stage at Caldbeck Parish Hall on a three night run which attracted large audiences. Produced and directed by Antoinette Ward the pantomime was a tour de force written by Tim Cartmell and David Ward and included a multitude of references to Caldbeck and area.
The accent of the entire evening, as you would expect with pantomime, was on fun and laughter (“he’s behind you!”) and many of the lines had a distinctly Cumbrian flavour. No fewer than 29 performers, of all ages, took to the stage and the support team was equally strong.
The highlight of this superb local show was Widow Twankey’s striptease, featuring many layers, much flamboyant movement and a very long set of elasticated drawers. The Players excelled in every respect and the young performers, of which there were many, showed remarkable confidence, poise and ability, especially (but not exclusively) Aimee Lillington as Princess Balroubador, and Rory Woodham in his multicoloured suit was anything but Wishee Washee.
The cast, backstage and front of house, all combined to produce a memorable show and demonstrate once again that amateur dramatics and musicals are alive and kicking in deepest Caldbeck. Just like the post office, village pub, shops, school, farms, cricket club, village pond, the church, the parish hall and Men in Sheds, and everything that makes up village life, the group that is Caldbeck Players is a vital and important part of this thriving rural community.
And the good news is that people will not have to wait too long for the next Caldbeck Players’ production to come along because from Tuesday to Thursday, 19th to 21st March, they are staging Richard Everett’s comedy Entertaining Angels, again at the parish hall, and where local thespian, he of the baritone voice, Tim Cartmell (Abanazar in Aladdin) will play the part of an angel, a role that will come quite naturally to him.
The cast list for Aladdin, in order of appearance, was: Jane Christian and Catherine Kenning, Messengers; Kate Butler, Grand Vizier; Pat Shaw, Patsha; Andrew Ward, Policeman; Martin Woodham, His Magnificance, Sultan of Marakanda; Luke Christian and Alex Stevens, Bearers; James Kenning, Guard; Rory Woodham, Wishee Washee; Robert Kenning, Widow Twankey; Lauren Woodham, Aladdin; Aimee Lillington, Princess Balroubador; Ella Horne, Pekoe; Lucy Jones, Stiletto and Bear; Tim Cartmell, Abanazar; Gabriella Lapping, Slave of the Ring; and Karen Atkinson, Genie of the Lamp.
The chorus and dancers were: Chantelle Christian. Megan Emery, Emily Farkas, Ava Fleming, Anna Kenning, Anya Lennon, Freya Lennon, Rosie Smith, Josie Stevens and Erin Tyson.