ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

ALADDIN Director: Juliette Shepherd, assisted by Rheanna Thomas. BESTS Bacup Educational Stage Theatre School Aladdin was cast before lockdown, but the director had kept the production alive by rehearsing using Zoom. As time went by there were cast changes, but the effort and enthusiasm of everyone involved kept the production on track. To be able to get back to normal rehearsals must have been a relief for everyone concerned! This educational arm of Bacup RCTG works to develop the stage skills of its members. They are mentored, not only in performance but the young cast was also involved developing the way a drama has to be interpreted. I felt that Kathryn Schultz-Miller’s retelling of this Middle Eastern folk-tale was a little too wordy for such young performers but nonetheless, the Theatre Royal technicians brought the story alive, and costumes added to the Eastern magic. The members of the Greek Chorus were the Storytellers, who also took smaller roles. Summer, Matilda, Tyler, Tobias, Ninah, Feebie, Robyn, Cody and Addison displayed character development. They had a difficult challenge but each of them rose to the demands of the script. In the title role, Isabella Woodcock brought about an understanding of stage space, allowing her character to be developed and not to be anchored or one dimensional. Playing a skin role needs attention to detail. Emily Jagger presented an entertaining cat, Persia, friend to Aladdin. Our hero was sent on his journey for the mystical lamp by the magician Omar, played out with understanding by Olivia Hill. His side kick, Geewiz, has to have an element of comedy which is one of the hardest stage crafts to develop. Rudy Holland worked hard to fulfil the author’s wishes. Charlotte Ferris has established herself by winning an ACT award for her work in the adult groups pantomime “Camelot”. For this production Charlotte displayed much stage presence and presented a colourful character as the Genie. The Princess Jasmine, played by Courtnie Whitworth, and the Sultan, played by Pippa Meadocroft completed this cast of young trainee thespians. There were many levels of ability within the cast but the director had harmonized the drama allowing the story to be told. I would suggest that maybe in their next sessions some time is given to voice projection. Congratulations to all members on your achievements with Aladdin, a much-loved story.