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2002 Aladdin

Aladdin ~ Jonathan Goodson
Jonathan did very well as the lamp-rubbing hero in this, his first pantomime - and accidentally breaking the main prop into two pieces half way through Act 1 was the sort of calamity that could have happened to anyone. A promising effort that made up for in energy what it lacked in technique. Smashing!

Princess Yasmine ~ Joanne McBrearty
She swooned, she sulked, she threw rocks – and that was just during the singing rehearsals! But seriously, Joanne gave a typically polished performance as the feisty Princess and delivered her solo, Favourite Things, with every bit as much finesse as Derek told her she would.

Widow Twanky ~ Ashley Steer
A sizzling performance by the debutante helped the pantomime’s second couple sparkle with the kind of sexual chemistry not seen at Totternhoe for a good many years. It was obvious to everyone that Ashley would be perfect as the Dame from the very first rehearsal – and that was when he was still reading the part of Aladdin!

Caliph Ibn Ben Dover ~ Lindzi Hayward
Another strong performance from the Player’s most experienced actor provided the perfect foil for the wilful Widow Twanky. Lindzi dragged the squeaking Ashley through their hilarious duet, I Remember It Well, without missing a single note or cracking a single smile.

Abanazer ~ Simon Perkins *
* Star performance. Playing against type, Simon threw himself into the role of the evil Abanazer with quite disturbing conviction. In fact, it wasn’t until the last piece of scenery was dismantled that he showed any signs of slipping out of character. Simon helped himself to all the boos around. (And it was much the same story at the after-show party too!)

Wishee Washee ~ Catharine Grieff
Catharine proved her versatility here as the cheeky Oriental urchin, having previously featured as a Detective Inspector in autumn’s murder mystery. Indeed, it was a remarkably convincing performance when you consider that she is neither Chinese nor a boy.

Suki Yaki ~ Julie Morrey
This was a relatively undemanding part for Julie after recent key roles in such productions as Blithe Spirit. Nevertheless, she gave a lively performance as the wisecracking handmaiden, who, I am assured, is traditionally played with a hint of a brummie accent.

Slave of the Ring ~ Jamie Hayward
Still just 10 years of age, Jamie is already something of a veteran of the stage, as was clear from this flawless performance. He could teach many of his seniors a thing or two about stage craft, and he could probably teach them several more things about learning lines and appearing on the right part of the stage at the right time equipped with the right props and costume.

Genie of the Lamp ~ Tom Grieff
Another promising youngster, Tom stepped in at short notice and gave a commanding performance as the Genie. His debut proved him to have more stage-presence than can rightly be expected of a 15-year-old, and more hair than can safely be contained in a hastily improvised turban.

Ping and Pong ~ Dorothy Levens and Wendy Saunders

The Siamese twins, though not exactly identical, displayed good timing in their comic set piece scenes. They also earned one of the biggest laughs of the night in the laundry sequence when Wendy shouted out ‘Mr Prewitt’s Pants’ whilst holding aloft what was quite clearly a large, extravagantly-tassled brassiere.

Market Traders ~ Joyce Brown and Joan Gardner
Some good add libbing and nice snappy gags. Not to mention some nifty costume changes to reappear as the maid and the beggar respectively.

Grand Vizier Mustapha Cuppa ~ Geoff Brown
Gave the Director nightmares in rehearsal but didn’t put a foot wrong on the night, despite the added distraction of being chief curtain-puller.

DIRECTOR ~ Dianne Smith
‘Little’ Di introduced some imaginative touches to Joan’s excellent script, with no little help from Simon as set designer. And having to pace up and down with the aid of crutches throughout this production did not make Di any less forthright – it only gave her more weaponry! (Excellent prompting.)

Derek’s piano playing has become a crucial part of the Totternhoe Player’s pantomimes. He can play well enough to grace any auditorium and, more importantly, can play loudly enough to cover even the most deafeningly clumsy of scene changes.

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