2020 Pantomime: Aladdin

The Otterbourne Theatre Company has proudly graced to the stage for their 40th family Pantomime – Aladdin. Since the early 80’s Otterbourne’s Village Hall has been supported by the success of its annual panto and this year’s production did not disappoint. The story of Aladdin has been a popular firm fixture in the growth of Otterbourne’s tradition featuring at least once every decade. Based on last night’s performance I can see why the tradition has been kept alive.

We are made welcome in Peking, home of Aladdin (Holly Williams) who has fallen in love with Princess Mandarin (Hannah Ashton) and seeks to find fortune to earn the right to marry her. Enlisting help from Spirit of the Ring (Jess Hancock) and releasing Geenie (Barbara Thomas) of the lamp will Aladdin be able to fight off wicked Abanazar (Richard Daniels) and find his happy ever after?

Directed for the first time by Sarah Hobbs, Otterbourne have successfully created a colourful and imaginative night at the theatre. Holly Williams adapted well to the role of Aladdin. Her vocals were paired well with Hannah Ashton, together they brought us a beautiful rendition of A Whole New World. Usually found behind the scenes, Richard Daniels made his panto debut as villain Abanazar. Why has he not been on stage sooner? His use of body language and characterisation was brilliant!

Pantomimes are renowned for breaking down the fourth wall, cheesy jokes and silly songs, which both Louis Crosskey-Still and Phillip Tutt-Leopard portrayed throughout their performance of Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey.

Soaking us (quite literally) into the setting of Chinese town Peking, Hu-Dun-Pong (Nicky Williams) and Yu-Dun-Wong (Jack Hobbs) provided an abundance of comic value to the entire show. Their facial expressions and use of diction really interpreted their stereotypical characters.

Made up from a background of all ages and experience, the chorus successfully bridged scene to scene allowing fluidity throughout the performance. The chorus welcomed young Charlie Watts who made his debut in the junior chorus. Charlie brought energy to the stage and mixed well with all of the junior actors who showed lots of potential and professionalism.

It’s evident that Otterbourne Theatre Company takes pride in captivating its audience through an abundance of classic techniques which Pantomimes are known for. With only a slight element of technology and smoke the creative team have pulled together many memorable moments through the use of extravagant costumes, bold and light up props.

Over the last twelve months Otterbourne Theatre Company have carried out various changes to expand themselves to a wider audience and attract new cast members.