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Haverhill's Centre Stage Company pulls out all the stops with its latest pantomime, Aladdin

Aladdin, by Centre Stage Company,

at Haverhill Arts Centre,

January 19

Early on in this entertaining pantomime we got to know just how dastardly the villain of the piece, the megalomaniac Emperor (Charlie Moody) was going to be.

The die was cast and he was out to get his hands on the magic lamp - no matter what.

Soon, the panto dame Widow Twanky (Lewis Simington) entered stage and, to the tune of Queen's 'One Vision' set the tone for what was to be an impressive level of ribaldry (well what else would you expect) with an eye-popping pelvic thrust.

The Emperor (Charlie Moody) with Abanazar (Sian Cripps) in Aladdin. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
The Emperor (Charlie Moody) with Abanazar (Sian Cripps) in Aladdin. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

The band, led by musical director Tony Trott was as polished as ever and the choreography by Charlotte Scammerton and directing of Tom Try contributed to a very impressive show.

Nothing is possible of course, without a fine cast, and Aladdin has just that.

Some of the cast, such as Sian Cripps (Abanazar) and first-time Centre Stage player, Paige Mylchreest (Princess Jasmine) were involved in a panto for the first time in many years - but for the programme notes, nobody would have known.

On a personal level, I thought Paige had a sweet, beguiling voice and was probably my pick of the singers in the show.

There were so many highlights to look back on; the return to stage together of the ever-impressive Becca Neal and Denise Harriss as the hapless comedy pairing of Ali and Baba, the fantastic duet by Widow Twanky and Abanazar set to the Human League's 'Don't You Want Me' and the convincing portrayal of The Emperor by the very talented Charlie Moody.

Reece Hannigan, in the title role, Sophie Street (Wishy Washy), Gemma Harrison, who delivered some funny lines while playing no less than four different characters, The Emperor's two guards Captain Li (Graeme Johnston) and Private Parts (Sam Barker) are just some of the cast that deserve a mention in dispatches.

Thee was of course the customary 'he's behind you moment' and the part where some children in the audience get to go up on stage.

Aladdin has everything - and more - that a pantomime should have and it continues at the arts centre from Thursday until Saturday, with shows at 7pm each day plus the 3pm matinee on Saturday.

Get down there if you can.

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