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Please email any news or review items concerning Trinity Theatre to news@caods.org.uk

December 2003
reviewed by Karen Nicholson in The Isle of Wight County Press 19/12/03
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight County Press)

PANTOMIME'S a funny thing (well it should be).

We have all dragged our children along to thesetraditional Christmas offerings but if we've been unlucky enough to sit through a bad one that ran for hours and hours and left the kids overtired and crying, we miserably wonder why we bothered.

But I was lucky enough to sit through a very fine show at Cowes last week so this is a good review, oh yes it is.

So thank you CAODS for putting on a wonderful version of Aladdin at the Trinity Theatre. Thank you for not subjecting us to endless dance routines, nor to tuneless tinies dressed as fairies nor to lumpy ladies in leotards, nor to endless reprises of awful versions of pop songs that we never liked in the first place.

Thank you for a fun show, for keeping the kids in the front rows entertained and for a well-crafted performance enjoyed equally by the cast and audience.

At a time when theatres around the country are crammed with sad stars from the soaps earning their Christmas crust, CAODS produced a cast with more than enough stars of their own and their magic rubbed off on me.

The uncomplicated story, easy for me and the other kids in the audience to follow, goes like this. Aladdin, a fine boy with a finer pair of legs (Sue Kelly looking great in fishnets and thigh-length boots) and his preposterous mum, broad in the beam and thicker in the mind (Widow Twankey) are hood-winked by villain Abanazar (Paul Birch) into obtaining the magic lamp for him.

Couldn't they tell he was a baddie from his purple face and the way the lights went down to danger red every time he opened his gob?.

Fortunately there were plenty of good guys around including Wishee-Washee, played by Wayne Child as if straight from Mark's vegetable stall in EastEnders, with plenty of cheeky sparkle to keep his many admirers in hoots.

Not even the bungling efforts of Mustapha Phag and Ali Khatt (say it and you'll geddit) could get in the way of a happy ending. These two (Marc Phillips and Stuart Pointing) injected many a Wilson and Kepple (minus Betty) music hall-type moment into the general fun.

John Plumbly's Widow Twankey had some great jokes and a greater wardrobe, with a new costume every time she came on stage, culminating in a fetching Christmas tree look for the finale.

She sweetened the audience up literally (I still have one of the sweets in my bag) and let us into her innermost thoughts about men.

"You want to treat them like a carpet. Lay them right the first time and then you can walk all over them." Can't argue with that.

The players received a well-earned round of applause at the end but it would have been nice to have seen some of the panto creW as well.

So congratulations to each of you, particularly the wardrobe ladies, you did yourself proud.



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