Bodmin College's production of Aladdin: Old lamp, young talent

By Chris Gill in Arts

WHEN you hear the ‘old ‘uns’ going on about how kids are not ‘what they used to be’, take them to a local young theatre production group: Avalon’s Bugsy Malone, Wadebridge School’s Little Shop of Horrors and latterly Bodmin College’s Aladdin and they will be otherwise persuaded. These youngsters voluntarily spend hundreds of hours in disciplined rehearsals, learning lines, singing and dancing practice, thoroughly and profitably enjoying themselves and bringing enjoyment to others.

More than 110 cast and crew, students from Bodmin College, St Mary’s and Cardinham Primary Schools entertained five full houses with music, magic, dancing, comedy and a great story based on ancient tales out of Arabia: Aladdin and the Tales of A Thousand and One Nights! The tale begins with the three ‘narrators’ setting the scene mellifluously in song, beautifully dressed in appropriate clothing in front of a superb set. From this the pace never slackens with a cornucopia of colour, song and dance, beautiful dancing girls, delightfully daft guards, evil emirs, heroes and heroines and of course a fabulous genie!

Scene followed scene with clever changes from the Outskirts of Agrabah, the Palace Gates, The Market Place, Jafar’s Chamber, A Cave, The Desert, The Palace, Jasmines’ Terrace and ending up in the Throne Room! The changes are effortlessly executed with a great deal of hidden effort creating a fantasy of Middle Eastern life of romance and intrigue. A remarkable scenic production, the highlight perhaps being the innovative magic carpet flight which mystified the audience as to its propulsion - perhaps it was magic! Congratulations to the dedicated and skillful crew behind the scenes for a smooth and difficult job superbly executed.

The main characters were word perfect with enormous acting, dancing and singing skills and to highlight any one of them would be unfair to the very professional and talented cast. However mention must be made of the Genie whose ‘miraculous’ appearance and acting skills were exceptional and was a lynch pin for the whole production. Princess Jasmine was beautiful and charming and her brave Aladdin suitably handsome and dashing. The bemused Sultan played the father of a headstrong teenager perfectly, and Jafar, superbly wicked, deservedly ended up in a cramped old lamp for his sins. Razoul cleverly provided the comedy ably and ‘handily’ assisted by his enigmatic parrot.

Mention must also be made of the colourful costume design, choreography and lighting, all of an exceptional high standard, all in all a superb production to which great credit must be given to all involved, especially the production and musical directors.

And for the ‘old ‘uns’ who think the kids of today are an ill-disciplined bunch, 50 youngsters from Cardinham and St Mary’s Primary schools stood for nearly two hours in the wings without moving or making a noise other than supplying a sterling choral background.

We left Aladdin uplifted and happy in the knowledge that the youngsters of today are a talented, enthusiastic ambitious and likeable bunch. Salaam!

AMG – an ‘Old ‘Un’

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