Aladdin the Chrysanthemums January 2018. Floral Pavilion New Brighton
Spendidly costumed, a flying carpet, plenty of laughter, fine cast and a host of young people who will undoubtedly provide the backbone of this Society for the next 100 years. Since 1918 the Chrysanths have been bringing a pantomine to the people of the Wirral and beyond, give or take a few missing years because of War etc. This must be a record many would envy and quite rightly so. I myself was a member and it’s amazing how many people one meets who will tell you proudly that they too were once a part of this Society.
Directors Julie Delaney and Graham Leigh proved a most effective and experienced team aided by Choreographer Rebecca Gardner and assistant Hannah Laidlaw in bringing this eastern fairy tale to life. Add to these Musical Director Norman Scott who has been around forever but very year brings his own brand of musical genius.
Comedy is always a strong feature of the Chrysanths persona and once again Terry Davies (Widow Twankey) Jed Flowerday (Hi-Lo) and Graham Leigh(Li-Lo) gave us a full measure of this commodity. “Busy Bee” may be an old routine but when it is done well can still prove a favourite with the audience. The tongue twister episode in the second half was especially well done.
Abanazar (Phil Gilroy) more than earned his share of boos and hisses and Shane Bear proved to be an excellent Genie catching exactly the right mood. Leanne Burgess (the Empress) has certainly found her niche playing the villainess; she proved that she can sing with her interpretation of “You don’t own me”. It was a pity we didn’t hear more; perhaps “I want to be evil” would have been an ideal vehicle for this talented lady. Stewie Rooke as her henpecked husband the Emperor created the right character in contrast to that of the Empress.
The Love interest came from Emily Beresford as the Princess and of course Charlie Delaney as the eponymous Aladdin and both of them played their role very well. Good support came from Alfie Ross as Wishee Washie and the ability to have the Spirit of the Ring (Victoria Delaney) “fly” greatly enhanced this part. Pekoe (Molly Bellis) and So Shy (Annabel Partington-Smith) gave us a secondary romantic tale completing a strong cast in every aspect of the story.
Petals, Posies, Blossoms, Blooms and Buds abounded and are always a highlight of Chrysanth’s pantomines. They were all well disciplined, a credit to the production team; no mean feat when you have between 50 and 60 young people to deal with.
It is a universal truth that Societies such as the Chrysanths are successful due to the off stage support of so many helpers. Stage Crew, Wardrobe, Props/scenic design, programme design and a host of others bring their expertise and help to get the production on to the stage. They too deserve their round of applause.
Here’s to the next 100 years starting with “This time next year” Budge