KYDS YOUTH DRAMA SOCIETY – ALADDIN
Production Manager: Alexandra Berriman Directors: Ray Banks, Hannah Beard, Choreography: Aaron Bailey, Danielle Young, Vocal Coach: Marcelina Mochalska
Performed at Thurstable School, Tiptree on 27th November 2010

This was the second show by this company that I have seen since their formation in 2009 and I must congratulate them on the improvements they have achieved since that occasion.

Here we had a cast of about 25 youngsters, quite obviously keen to impress and to show the audience what they could do. Casting seemed to be OK and all the roles and their part in the story came through quite well. The three Widows (yes 3),Twankey, Twinkey and Twonkey, played respectively by Jon Beales, Jack Vanson and Brad Cole were excellent characterisations and they had real fun both with cast and audience. Hannah Wiillingale as Aladdin and Sophie Moreton as Princess Wong also did well in their lead parts. A particular mention too of Ethelazar, the villain, played by Rachel Shortland, who tried to spoil Aladdin’s fun, but of course failed. The remaining many characters of this familiar tale took to their parts and did various silly things on the way to the inevitable happy ending in the story

Unfortunately, and quite soon after the start of the show, all in the company were the victims of the sound system, serving the microphones used on stage, which appeared to suffer uncontrollable tantrums to a degree quite beyond anything reasonable and had to be put out of its misery. The big strong lads playing the widows didn’t allow this to bother them and simply turned up their own volume, which was fine, but for others it wasn’t so easy and it became quite hard to follow both speech and song at times. In this context it was unfortunate the some of the crowd scenes tended to populate the back part of the stage, from where it was difficult to pick up the message. This new company has made strides since last year and will certainly progress further with strong sympathetic direction and with the inclusion for the time being of a few people in the company with past experience

This was a low budget production with the very minimum of necessities in the way of scenery and costume, but nevertheless there were some very good moments, which indicates something very basic, that it is what the performers do with the words and music that really matters. Revel in the good bits, learn from the bits that didn’t feel right; and above all enjoy what you do. Here’s to the next production.

Report by John Warburton, Regional Councillor

Showcase Festival
NETG Adjudication
Aladdin
KYDS YOUTH DRAMA SOCIETY
Friday 26th November 2010
Thurstable School, Tiptree

Adjudicator – Sally Fisher
Assisted by – Liz Mullen

Introduction: We arrived on a very cold and frosty evening to find a long queue of people eagerly awaiting their tickets. We had a warm and friendly welcome and were shown to our seats by the director. We did feel that the seats were rather too close together for comfort and there was very little leg room, perhaps this could be considered for future productions?
The room had a good ambience with a varied choice of music for the audience to listen too before the curtain went up. The curtain was a little late going up, but Liz and I amused ourselves by doing the word search in the very well thought out programme.

Set: Although the set was very simple it worked well with the large cast. The cave scene had been well thought out and we particularly liked the washing machine scene.

Props: Some good props throughout the performance, some hard work and imagination had obviously gone into them! (loved Stir and Fry’s cart and the washing machines). The only slight comment would be that perhaps the addition of a few jewels and treasures in the cave scene could have added to the magic in this part of the show?

Lighting and Sound: The opening music was a little too loud but the surround sound was a nice idea at the beginning. The backing music during the songs was a little overpowering for the opening and drowned out the sound of the chorus singers. Overall the sound could have been better as we had difficulty hearing the singing over the music, even when the performers were given microphones. The sound effects for the cave worked well though.
The lighting was very simple but effective.

Costumes and Make up: There were a large mixture of colourful costumes befitting a pantomime. Overall a very well thought out range of costumes, especially the dames who looked wonderful. Only a couple of small comments: Stir and Fry, looked too much like girls and their moustaches should have matched their hair, or visa versa. The Emperor did not look very regal, especially with his trainers on and he needed to look older than Aladdin. However I loved the Princess costumes and the camel was fabulous.

Cast:

Aladdin – Hannah Willingale had a lovely voice and sang the challenging “Defying Gravity” with confidence. She could have added a little more acting through the song into her performance but overall she played the part well and was a convincing leading “man”.

I particularly liked her tongue in cheek relationship with the audience.

Princess Wong – Sophie Morton looked a lovely princess and as mentioned before her costumes were lovely. She acted the part well, playing a delicate and pretty girl well, in contrast to the confident Aladdin. There were some tuning issues especially in “Rule the World”, but it is a very difficult song for a girl to sing in a man’s key.

Widow Twankey – Jon Beales played a great leader of the inspired comic dame trio. Lovely stage presence and rapport with the audience. Very well done!

Widow Twinkey – Lovely portrayal and very very funny! Loved the rapport, costume and dancing in “Single Ladies” Great future potential as a single dame! Excellent!

Widow Twonkey – A good portrayal and worked well with the other dames to provide us with some very funny comic moments! Well done.

Wishee Washee – Played very well by Peter Greenwood. He had good comic timing and created a great rapport with the audience.

A Long Pong – Lovely part played by Matthew Russell exhibiting a very dry sense of humour and a good stage presence. He reminded me of a young Peter Sellers!

The Emperor – Looked a little too young but Daniel Carr had some very funny moments with Widow Twankey and they worked very well together.

Ethelazar – Excellent and evil pantomime villain played by the dark and mysterious Rachel Shortland. Her diction throughout was excellent. She had a good singing voice and good potential for future acting roles.

The Genie – Nice little cameo, but I did feel the”poof” joke, every time he appeared, wore thin after a while. Leon Kennedy had some nice comedy touches and showed his exasperation with Aladdin well!

Slave of the Ring – Cheyenne Coleman played her small role well and showed some nice little comic moments.

Stir Wok – Jodie Cole looked liked a very feminine girl with a moustache! But she played her part to a good standard and worked well as a comedy stooge for Fry Wok.

Fry Wok – Shaunna Lynch, worked well in her double act and had some good comic moments with Stir Wok. I particularly liked the desert scenes which had some great slapstick moments.

Medicine Seller – Well played small cameo role. We were unable to find out who played her on the night we came.

Ratman – A little quiet but well tried by Jordan Murphy.

Clarence the Camel – Loved Clarence and would have loved to have seen more of him in the second half. Very well played by Jenny Haywood and Katy Hood. The highlight of the evening for us!

 

All Star Performers – We felt this number was a little displaced in this pantomime. The performers needed Aladdin style costumes in order to fit in. The girls had a good routine but it would have been nice to see more of your eyes, and your lovely smiles to make your performance even more convincing.

 

Chorus – The chorus tried really hard and smiled beautifully. They did seem a little unsure at times but as the show progressed really gained courage and conviction. As the performance went on they were full of energy and excelled in the enjoyable “Mega Mix” and happy finale.

Choreography – The choreography from Aaron Bailey and Danielle Young was simple at times, but effective. We particularly enjoyed the “Single Ladies” number which was very well choreographed and provided great viewing and hilarity for the audience.

Direction – There were some great moments, we loved all the scenes involving the Dames and the camel, which worked very well. We “lost the plot” a bit in the second half as we couldn’t work out how Stir and Fry became Ethelnazers hench men and found it all a little confusing (especially as the scenes in the programme did not add up to what was on stage) However there could be no doubt that the cast and audience thoroughly enjoyed the show and that the camaraderie of the cast evolved from the enthusiasm and dedication of the direction team.

Conclusion – This pantomime had comedy in abundance, lots of audience participation and we were treated to a great evenings entertainment from a young and enthusiastic cast and a dedicated crew of people behind the scenes. Thank you all for a lovely evening!

Sally Fisher – Adjudicator