Ali Baba reviewed

REVIEWAli Baba and the Forty ThievesGorleston Theatre CompanyGorleston PavilionGORLESTON Theatre Company provided an Arabian night to remember with their pantomime version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Gorleston Theatre Company

Gorleston Pavilion

GORLESTON Theatre Company provided an Arabian night to remember with their pantomime version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

It was a return to their natural home of the Pavilion after their exile to the Hippodrome Circus last year where they performed a totally traditional Cinderella. This year they took an unusual subject greatly aided by author Bob Bishop, a former stalwart of the Stalham Players, whose often witty script carried the fable along.

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The group fielded a strong cast with Ian Sykes on particularly good form as larger than life Kassim, brother of Ali Baba, well played by David Cooper. As Kassim's wife Greta, Marilyn Durrant got plenty of laughs as a Teutonic Rhine maiden, complete with horned helmet. Nick Funnell was a successful Dame while Angie Smith played a major role as the confident Morgiana, ever thwarting the wily ways of Matthew Canwell as the leader of the thieves and successful attracter of boos and hisses.

Terry Wing also shone in the lesser part of the policewoman while Chris Darnell, making a welcome return, all but stole the show with his perfect timing and ad-libs.

And let's not forget Shirley Philpot and Debbie King who really made the comedy camel come alive. For those brought up on a radio diet of Children's Favourites and Junior Choice it was a sheer delight to have Angie Smith and Chris Darnell performing the Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren classic doctor and patient Goodness, Gracious Me which led so neatly into another rarely performed but well revived routine, the operation performed in silhouette behind a screen.

In truth the show was somewhat over long and 15 minutes could have been cut from the first half, but things really gathered pace after the interval. With some lively dancing (choreography Charlotte Woolton), colourful costumes and sets, effective lighting and even pyrotechnics director David Emmerson (who also appeared as the narrator) provided a panto which, on Friday night at least, played to an almost full house who were loving it.

In total contrast the company will be back at the theatre at Easter with the challenging adult musical, Rent.

Tony Mallion