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Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Review by Jenny Robson in the South Sefton Champion: Ali-Baba and the Forty Thieves - Waterloo & Crosby Theatre Co

Crosby Civic Hall – 3 to 11 December 2011

Reviewed on 4 December


I have seen numerous pantos since my childhood but I have never seen Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.  Hence I was looking forward to this production.  I was not disappointed.


 Talented Leo Appleton wrote the script, directed the show and flamboyantly played outrageous and lovable dame Aunt Sally Baba.


El Sceptico (Danny Walsh) - boo, hiss - is scheming to steal a magic carpet (oh yes he is!) so that he can oust Sultan (Phillip Lawler) as ruler of Brightonlezandria.  His two partners in crime are Bashem (Catherine Mageer) and Beatem (Olivia Taylor-Goy).


Princes Yasmin (Melanie de Castro) finally gets her man - Ali Baba (Laura Birch) - much to the disgust of her two sisters, Grizelda (Paula Seddon) and Hermintrude (Bex Kenyon).   Aunty Sceptico (Jillian Riddoch) and Fairy Generous (Linda Hansen) handled their parts well and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fairy with so many costumes.  Very glam!


Ali’s brother, Bingo, (Darren Hilton) is in charge of the Bongo the teddy; you know the one – ‘if anyone goes near this teddy shout ... ’ – cue squeals of delight from children in the audience.


The music is memorable with good choreography, witty lines, lovely scenery and colourful costumes with one surprise being Graham McFadyen appearing from a magic lamp as a comical, blue-skinned genie.


Just as I was wondering where the forty thieves had got to there was a clever ploy with four tea-thieves ... geddit?   Earl Grey (Nadya Panaya), Tetley (Robin Leyland), Typhoo (Claire O’Connor) and Darjeeling (Jade Ball).  When the real forty thieves appeared at the end there was much cheering as they ran through the auditorium to the stage.


Well done to everyone – cast and backstage crew - in your 30th pantomime year! 


Score: 8/10 – A lovely show.