Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Shotley Drama Group
From the wonderfully warm, colourful and cheery opening, which perfectly epitomised the chaos of a Baghdad souk, to the fabulous fuzzy finale, this is a family friendly show with more than a hint of eastern promise.
Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves is a tale of love, treachery and an oppressive class system, the original story was actually quite dark but years of tinkering have lifted it to a perennial stage favourite.
This performance is done with humour, vivid colourfulness, great songs, many sung in tune, and energetic dancing.
Bright convincing costumes, great panto effects and cleverly done scenery help make this another triumph.
You, the audience will enjoy the contemporary references, and myriad of familiar tunes and show songs, and you will have fun identifying where the originals came from.
This shone brighter than any diamond found in the Mustapha Lot, (played by Connor Sams with menacing stage villain confidence) the Prince of Thieves treasure trove.
Atmospheric piano/organ music was superbly performed by Tom Durrant in his last show, he will be missed for sure.
The whole cast were stars and sang as one voice, although Michelle Merrin as Ali Baba and Brian Harvey as Dame Baba led the way with strong showings.
Sydnee Nicholas played truculent teen Princess Jasmine with alarming accuracy, method acting at its best, while the authoritive Kevin Widdick, as Sultan Vin Egar, belted out an impressive baritone solo.
Michael Connell played the genie with sparkle, and no one could get the hump with Diane Weeding as the slave Salina who enjoyed sharing the stage with son Dillon as Kevin the Camel.
Standards are set high within Shotley Drama Group and most of the performers gave their all with gusto, and in many cases no little talent.
For such a relatively small village the highly reputable drama group enjoys terrific support with 17 adults and 17 children taking part, with ages ranging from the adorable Adelaide aged seven, to 82-year-old Bob Oliver, and it is a tribute to director Mandy Peters, Carol Blumfield and the unseen backstage stars that it all comes together so well.
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves - by the Shotley Drama Group is on at the Shotley Village Hall
Performances: Wednesday Feb 18 - Saturday Feb 21 (inclusive) - 7.30pm. Matinee - Saturday, 2.30pm.
Bought in advance- £7.50, £6.50 concessions. Family ticket £22. On the door: £8.00, £7.00 concessions.£24 family ticket.
Tickets are available from the Shotley Gate Stores and The Rose Inn.
Contact Mandy Peters 01473 787460 or Carol Blumfield 01473 787353.