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Review: Aladdin at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay is full of surprises

PUBLISHED: 10:01 22 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:01 22 December 2018

Aladdin (Hayley Evenett) with the lamp.
Pictures: Darren France

Aladdin (Hayley Evenett) with the lamp. Pictures: Darren France

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From start to finish, this pantomime is novel, fast-moving, original and full of surprises - a credit to this enterprising theatre.

Aladdin (Hayley Evenett).
Pictures: Darren FranceAladdin (Hayley Evenett). Pictures: Darren France

For the second year it brings to the stage of the historic auditorium a local production through the Upshoot Theatre Company – and one full of professionalism too, with a script created by two members of the cast, with lots of humorous local references.

This delightful event brings together highly experienced actors alongside talented members of the Fisher Youth Theatre Group, and has many highlights, notably an ingenious new take on the role of the genie, and a wonderful magic carpet ride through the streets and shops of Bungay.

The evil Abanazar (Simon Michael-Morgan).
Pictures: Darren FranceThe evil Abanazar (Simon Michael-Morgan). Pictures: Darren France

It is fast-moving, colourful, funny, full of good singing to catchy familiar numbers, and splendid costumes hired from the Norwich Theatre Royal. In short, it is a complete and lively entertainment for all the family to enjoy.

Hayley Evenett, who has played Dick Whittington at the Fisher in the past in her varied professional career, has the title role.

The policeman (Daisy Plackett) and Wishee Washee (Callan Durrant).
Pictures: Darren FranceThe policeman (Daisy Plackett) and Wishee Washee (Callan Durrant). Pictures: Darren France

She is an animated and nimble Aladdin in a production which has a good pace from the opening curtain. Alongside her as her brother Wishee Washee Callan Durrant, who trained at the National Youth Theatre, is fully of energy and repartee with the audience, while Peter Sowebutts returns in the dame role he played last year, this time as the classic Widow Twankey, over-the-top, overdressed and impeccable in timing and one-liners.

And she reads The Journal – but not as you know it!

Helen Fullerton, with 25 years as an actress behind her, is both the Empress and the Genie, taking both diverse roles and quick changes in her stride. Georgie Matthews is Princess Jasmine, with her duets with Aladdin one of the many highlights, while the baddie the audience love to boo and hiss, Abanazar, sees Simon Michael-Morgan get all the power and evil into the part – with the audience responding with a will.

Daisy Plackett is the Spirit of the Ring and the policeman – watch out for the scene in which she dives into the washing machine – in this great show creatively directed by Laila France and produced by Darren France.

Bungay should be proud of its offering for the regional pantomime season.

You can catch it each day until January 2, except New Year’s Day.

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