I HOPE you all went to see Aladdin and marvelled at the amount of talent we have in our midst locally. On stage and back stage they all created a polished, slick, witty and thoroughly modern version of Aladdin.

Where to start? Well “There’s nothing like a Dame”, especially the one played by Marcus Whitfield as Widow Twankey (pictured); in a magnificent costume and huge wig he dominated and glamourised the action even when his back was all one could see. The apparently bankrupt but expensively and elegantly dressed Sultan (James Marshall) attempted to sell lovely daughter Meghan to the highest bidder. Clemmie Fowle played Princess Meghan with great charm always including the audience on both sides of the stage, and her attendant Jasmine (Alice Wilson) was also a pleasure to watch with her accompanying small page with very large fan and lovely smile (Tilly Tyson).

Pantomimes must have villains to boo and Vlad the Vizier and henchmen Hump and Rump – wonderfully played by Jenny Walmsley, Felicity Pennycook and Bryan Green – brought villainy to a very high level. Ella Tyson played a most attractive and spirited Aladdin.

No version of Aladdin can do without a Genie, and this updated version had one no longer residing in a lamp, but in a rather out-dated mobile phone – press a button and Jon Hawkins, in wonderful costume and make up, appears to great sound effects, witty dialogue and magic carpets. Whoever held the magic, brick-like phone got a different response to their three wishes.

At various times a Newscaster appeared – played by pantomime author Simon Theobalds – complete with clipboard, to interview the President. We were left in no doubt which President as Anthony Fanshawe was an amazing Trump doppelganger who could, I’m sure, make a career appearing at stag nights!

The band of Martin Harris, David Woodward, Finn O’Sullivan, Richard Croker and Gordon Munro joined the dots holding the whole pantomime together with their playing, Martin Harris also giving us a solo performance on stage. They richly deserved the ovation they received.

The costumes were hugely impressive too, full of eastern promise and a visual feast. The back-stage workers never get the recognition they deserve but without them this smooth polished pantomime would not have happened.

What a great evening.

Adrian Walmsley