The evil Sultan wants to kill all the pure-hearted boys and girls in his Sultanate! Can Ali Baba stop him?
The annual Woodhouse pantomine takes you to the East (of London), with its palatial splendour, its passionate culture and its excellent drainage system. Join Ali Baba and the beautiful Princess Macademia as they battle to protect themselves and all the boys and girls from the evil Sultan. Along the way they meet a magical genie and four rather suspicious types who may be a bit light-fingered.
Karen Hart: If you were looking for a real old-fashioned pantomime over the Christmas period, The Woodhouse Player's 'Ali Baba and The Four Tea Leaves' would have been the one to see.
Ali Baba, the poor housekeeper's son and Princess Macademia, the Sultan's daughter, were given a bright, modern twist by Stuart Browne and Anna Treadway in lively performances that befitted their characters well. While his mother, Dame Barbara Baba, played by Andy Grant, was the quintessential pantomime Dame, complete with over the top costumes, garish make-up and ghastly hair styles, he had the lot, and had the audience shouting and calling out in true pantomime style right from the start, in what was a truly funny performance.
The wicked, money grabbing ruler, Sultan Pepper, was performed with real nastiness by Vaughan Prosser - all lines delivered with an evil sneer that had the audience hissing and booing throughout - an excellent performance here. I loved the character of Berkules, the Sultan's bodyguard, played by Phil Braithwaite complete with padded muscley torso, he strutted about the stage in a believably arrogant performance, even on occasion, allowing the audience a squeeze of his biceps.
The character, Isaiah, the male gorilla with a feminine side, was a great addition. Matthew House was perfectly cast here, making the most of his obvious comic talent in a character that the audience, both children and adults loved. Of course there was a Genie, and the role of Queenie the Genie was filled here with a flash and a bang by Natasha Agnew, who made the part of the larger than life glamour puss, looking for love through the lonely hearts columns, a gem. In fact, there were faultless performances all round, with the four thieves, Neville the Chamberlain and Sylvester the Jester among others, all first class. And, the mis-fit dance troupe was just brilliant.
Altogether, this was a good example of how to produce and perform the perfect pantomime - great characters, songs, loads of audience interaction and rotten jokes by the bucket load. Once again the Woodhouse Players provided an excellent evenings entertainment.