Reviewed by Jodie Crawford
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This year Sale Nomads celebrate their 75th birthday, and they kick off the festivities by delivering a fabulous production of Aladdin directed by Derek Stuart-Cole (his 40th year of Nomad pantomimes). This is panto at its most pure: gender role reversal, a storyline of good vs evil, slapstick comedy, elaborate costumes, audience participation and of course a comedic dame.
This tale is set in China’s old Peking and follows the journey of Widow Twanky (Mike Sammon) and her sons; Aladdin (Jess Dyer) and Wishee Washee (Sean Botham) as they embark on their quest for wealth in order to free themselves from the evil clutches of Abanaazar (Peter Birch). Aladdin is torn between his love for Sheherezade (Niamh Rushton-Nutt) and his loyalty to his widowed mother.
The casting of Mike Sammon as the dame is a triumph. The audience falls in love with the hilarious dame from the minute she enters the stage. The costume department have excelled themselves and the snappy banter between Twanky and Abanaazar had us in stitches – some jokes in there just for the adults as is expected! And didn’t disappoint.
There is an array of young talent in this production. The dances are well choreographed and the dancers themselves captured the attention of our mini reviewers, who were up and dancing in the aisle. The chorus and the children all deliver well rehearsed and confident performances.
Abanaazar’s “henchmen”, Echo and Ditto (Jon Gardner) are an hilarious duo – their constant misunderstanding and comedic timing had us giggling away throughout the show. The two genies bring a sprinkling of magic to the show.
Eventually, Aladdin finds his fortune in colourful Baghdad and we are treated to a magical carpet ride and a wonderful rendition of Flying without Wings by the talented Jess Dyer.
Aladdin is reunited with his true love and together Dyer and Rushton-Nutt (Sheherezade) deliver an astonishing version of Everything I do, I do for you. These two young women have talent by the bucketload- it’s hard to believe that this is amateur theatre. They are pitch perfect and ooze confidence.
Sale is so fortunate to have a production of this standard on their doorstep – there is something for everyone in this and Sale Nomads should be congratulated on the standard of this wonderful production. If you haven’t seen it yet, get your tickets ! It’s an absolute must-see to wash away those January blues ! Tickets available for Wednesday 12th – Sunday 16th