29th November to 1 December 2013
A Review of this Show by Stewart Adkins (NODA East)
Performance date - Dec 1, 2013,
Venue - Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre
Young Expressions have got the formula about right for their pantomimes. With just three colourful backcloths, three market place flats, a cave flat and some palm trees this young company created plenty of variety and some lovely visual effects. I liked the plentiful use of the auditorium for some parts of scenes and the radio mikes meant that dialogue and singing could still be heard. The costumes were excellent and the make-up none too garish – except for Salmonella, of course, which was appropriate. The sound was generally good and the balance between stage and backing tracks just right. In fact, this was a production packed with technical effects that worked really well; in addition to the many sound cues the blackouts for the genie’s entrance and exits were well timed and the scene changes were swift and painless. Full marks to the company for working so well with the backing tracks.
The principals were well cast, with Rebecca Craythorne, as Ali Baba, definitely retiring from YE on a high note. Her solo, Hotay, was excellent and her dialogue and rapport with the audience showed maturity throughout. I am delighted to have seen Rebecca grow in confidence and skill and do hope she will continue to find an outlet for her skills as she moves on. Ali’s son Haroun, played by Todd Brand, displayed great stage presence and acting ability and was spot on during the Blondie number in Scene 1. Haroun’s love interest Morgiana (Jess Culverwell) must share the honours for a song well sung. Alex Bloom has certainly blossomed in the last few years; his El Abadan was suitably powerful and his rapping number great fun.
Grant Clark’s Salmonella was definitely saucy and despite a microphone hitch in Scene 1 his songs and dialogue came through well. Any self-consciousness about wearing a dress was undeniably absent and it was clear he and the audience enjoyed themselves.
Space precludes discussion of the remaining principals but suffice to say that there is obvious talent coming through and their chance to step into the limelight occupied by their older company members is fast approaching. I very much enjoyed Ali Baba in its entirety. The choreography was inventive, without being overly complex while the audience participation and the sweet distribution was fun but mercifully brief. I noticed that even the smaller, presumably younger, girls had good dancing skills and that there were few if any passengers in this production. A few forgot to smile but that can soon be remedied. Well done, Young Expressions.
Reviewer – Stewart Adkins
Regional Representative, District 8