AND THE FORTY THIEVES
SAYF at Sandon Village Hall
Once upon a time, youth clubs did amateur theatricals along with table-tennis and trips to the sea-side.
Sandon is a proud survivor from those distant days, and this year's Ali Baba, with its seven thieves and Nativity Play ethos, had all the strengths and weaknesses we've grown used to over the years.
Too many prompts, lighting by luck, noisy scene changes. But gorgeous costumes and scenery, great musical support, and a warm community spirit [sponsored by Asda].
A large cast – the youngest just seven years old – had dependable dame Laurence Green as Fatima, and Sophie Cooper [Mustapha] relishing her one-liners and the inevitable sing-along. Some fine classical acting from Sebastian Pountney [Asbad] and an impressive double from Nicola Mori as the Prince and the evil Alsatia, half of a David-and-Goliath struggle with good feline fairy Caterina [Sarah Diwell].
Jade Cooper had a strong presence in the title role, and there were promising performances from Poppy Quy Watkins as the Sultan, Matt Diwell and Emily Flack as the scoundrels, and Maddie Warner-Lodge as a poised Princess Jasmine.
James Tovey's music included Happy Talk and Comedy Tonight, as well as Eastern panto favourites like Supermarket in Old Peking and the Old Bazaar in Cairo.
Alan P Frayn's original script is awash with ancient jokes and puns, enjoyed by players and punters alike.
Ali Baba was produced and directed by Peter Ellis.