The conventions of pantomime are as sure as day becomes night. You’ll get to cheer the heroes and boo the baddies, and there will be just as much innuendo for the parents to chuckle at as there is slapstick for the kids. Director Mark Barford has brought the classic tale of Aladdin into a familiar time and place in a way similar to John Senczuk’s Puss in Boots for the MS Society last holiday season.
Barford’s Aladdin is set in the present day, right here in Northbridge. Intertwined with people and places around Perth are the classic characters and plot twists of the traditional story from Arabian Nights.
Sam Tye was gorgeous as the teenage rebel Aladdin and Michael Bingaman just as endearing as his nerdy, hard working brother, Wishy-Washy. Their mother, the Dame, Widow Twanky was hilariously played by accomplished actor James Hagan. While the kids just loved his over the top camp behaviour, sparkly costumes and wig, it was particularly amusing to see the distinguished actor and voice over artist riding a scooter and showing off his “hourglass figure”.
Aladdin’s love interest (Princess Princess) was played by Atara Lebransky who was sweet and confident in her role. Playing both her wicked socialite mother (The Empress) and the baddie Abanzer was Angelique Malcolm. Malcolm squeezed every drop of melodrama from her characters and inspired the most involvement from the audience with the inevitable shouts of “He’s behind you!”
Dressed in one of costume designer Penny Mazzuchelli’s stunning outfits, was Iskandar Sharazuddin as the Genie of the lamp, whose charisma never fails to shine, especially in character roles.
Musical Director, Tim How provided ambient underscoring as well as backing the contemporary pop songs that were inserted into the action.
There are 4 ensemble members listed in the program, although I believe only 2 appear in each show. The two young people in the ensemble I saw looked like they might be about 9 or 10 years old, and provided backing and dance vocals as well as playing some small roles. This is no doubt a great opportunity for them to put skills into practice in front of an audience and they behaved very professionally.
Aladdin runs for about 60 minutes which is short enough to capture the kids’ attention and long enough to make it a great outing for the family this holidays.
by Mark Barford
Directed by Mark Barford
Venue: Metcalfe Playhouse | 12 Lake St, Northbridge
Dates: December 10 – 23, 2011
Tickets: $30 Full, $23 Conc/Ch U16 | Group 10+ $18
Bookings: 9228 1455 | www.empyrean.net.au