It’s been two long years since Larbert Musical Theatre (LMT), previously Larbert Amateur Operatic Society, last put on a show, so it’s of no surprise its members have returned to the stage in style with their performance of Aladdin.
Theatregoers quickly put the problems of the pandemic to the back of their mind when Tuesday’s opening night extravaganza began, as the cast invited them aboard a magic carpet destined for a place packed full of fun, laughter, song and dance.
The tale of Aladdin dates back to the 9th century, however, LMT’s production features an abundance of modern twists.
Aladdin (the ebullient Claire Coyne) and Princess Jasmine (portrayed by Nicole Nelrose) are in love but their union is forbidden by royal custom, which decrees the latter must marry someone of noble birth.
Seduced by evil sorcerer Abanazar (wickedly humorous Daniel Baillie) who promises riches buried deep within the Cave of Wonders, Aladdin embarks on an epic quest to prove he is worthy.
As the sole ‘diamond in the rough’, only Aladdin can enter the cave.
However, the villain’s true intention is soon revealed – and Abanazar derived great joy from the flak he received from the audience right from the start when it became clear he was only concerned with obtaining an ancient lamp that would grant him the power to conquer the universe.
The good guys, however slapstick they may be, are thankfully never far away, though.
Aladdin’s mother, Widow Twankey (director Derek Easton), and his foolish brother, Wishey Washey (Stewart Borthwick), are roped in to halt Abanazar’s evil plan.
They’re assisted by the brilliantly flamboyant Genie in the Lamp (John Coe), who brings Abanazar down a peg or three with his quick-witted comebacks.
The song Celebrate Good Times set the tone from the beginning before familiar faces like Easton were greeted with a huge round of applause.
His character, Widow Twankey, soon had the crowd cackling with withering references to prominent politicians.
The energy onstage was expertly matched by the colourful costumes on display. The audience’s eyes were also treated to ever-changing backdrops, from a wash house and village to a palace and Egyptian tombs.
Directors Easton and Yolande Borthwick presented the contrast between poor Aladdin and well-off Princess Jasmine perfectly before the pair combined for an impressive first act duet.
Credit, too, to those behind the scenes for their efforts, including the clever use of offstage voices.
The interaction between the principals, specifically Wishey Washey, Widow Twankey, Abanazar and the Genie, serves up several gags tailored to children and adults.
Before they know it, theatregoers will find themselves immersed in the magic which spills out of that golden lamp.
PRINCIPALS: Widow Twankey, Derek Easton; Abanazar, Daniel Baillie; Wishey Washey, Stewart Borthwick; Aladdin, Claire Coyne; Princess Jasmine, Nicole Nelrose; Ping, Lucy Andrew; Pong, Jo Malik; Emperor, Robbie Landsman; Empress, Dale Henry; Genie of the Lamp, John Coe.
VILLAGERS: Annalisa Bailey, Carole Fleming, Christine Jenkins, Jeanna Connell, Jillian Govan, Joanne Dingwall, Karyn Russell, Kim Dickenson, Kirsten McConnachie, Liz Wilson, Misha May Landsman, Robyn McKinnon, Tristan Boyle, Yolande Borthwick.
Aladdin takes place each night (7.30pm) at the Dobbie Hall from tonight (Wednesday) until Saturday. There’s also a Saturday matinee (2.30pm).