Aladdin (Eye)

> Eye Town Hall

> Eye Town Hall

With the closure of Eye Theatre earlier this year it was thought that the town would miss its popular panto.

Thankfully, Matthew Townshend Productions stepped in and with the support of Eye Town Council transformed the town hall into a professional theatre.

The resulting production, which opened on Boxing Day is a credit to all those involved with the planning, construction and top quality performance.

With an extension to the stage framed with full length curtains the cast was enhanced by local dancers from the Saxstead School of Dance which caters for children and adults in its 66 classes each week. Their expertise, backed by an accomplished duo on keyboard and drums, greatly added to the colour and spectacle of the show.

The original script was written by George Critchley and Matthew Townshend with the latter directing the production and also playing the part of Widow Twankey.

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This proved no problem for Matthew, now in his 13th panto season.

He was backed by Alice Goodin, a drama student making her professional debut as Wishee Washee, who had the task of warming up the audience somewhat depleted by the weather.

Emma-Jane Beniston, who began her association with Eye Theatre in their drama classes, eventually becoming company manager, excelled in her first panto role as Princess Lotus Flower. She was well matched by Liesl Wickens, first seen in Eye in Jack and the Beanstalk, as Aladdin.

John Witts had just the right physique and voice for the part of the evil Ebenezer, while Rachel Foskett as the Slave of the Ring and Stevie Smallwood as the Genie both impressed with their vocal and acting ability. Radio Broadland's presenter John Venes completed the cast as the Emperor of China.

t Aladdin continunes until January 8, tickets from Partridge & Lucae in Eye, Diss Tourist Information, or 01379 650523

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