, is a musical
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...
Pantomime — not to be confused with a mime artist, a theatrical performer of mime—is a musical-comedy theatrical production traditionally found in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, India, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, and is mostly performed during the...
written by Sandy Wilson
Sandy Wilson is an English composer and lyricist, best known for his musical The Boy Friend .-Biography:Wilson was born Alexander Galbraith Wilson in Sale, Greater Manchester, and was educated at Harrow School and Oriel College, Oxford. During the war he served in the Royal Ordnance Corps in Great...
for the inaugural Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...
Pantomime at the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. It played during the Christmas pantomime season of 1979/80 at the theatre, (opening on 21 December 1979) and starred Richard Freeman, Joe Melia, Aubrey Woods
Aubrey Woods is an English actor. He was born in London.His television credits include: Z-Cars, Up Pompeii!, Doctor Who , Blake's 7, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Ever Decreasing Circles...
, and Ernest Clark
Ernest Clark was a British actor of stage, television and film.-Early life:Clark was the son of a master builder in Maida Vale, and was educated nearby at St Marylebone Grammar School. After leaving school he became a reporter on a local newspaper in Croydon...
The Aladdin story
Aladdin is a Middle Eastern folk tale. It is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , and one of the most famous, although it was actually added to the collection by Antoine Galland ....
(sometimes combined with Ali Baba
Ali Baba is a fictional character from medieval Arabic literature. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves...
and other Arabian Nights tales) had already been a traditional pantomime subject in England for nearly two hundred years, and numerous versions of this tale have been presented. http://www.its-behind-you.com/aladdin.html
Sandy Wilson was apparently asked to write a conventional pantomime in this tradition, but (quoting from the sleeve notes he wrote for the cast recording):
"Instead of writing a pantomime — a form of theatre about which I know very little — I decided to make Aladdin a musical, and based it on the original story in the Arabian nights"
This is a trifle disingenuous, to say the least, as the show actually follows the traditional pantomime presentation of the Aladdin story quite closely — including the "pantomime dame
A pantomime dame is a traditional character in British pantomime. It is a continuation of en travesti portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag. They are often played either in an extremely camp style, or else by men acting 'butch' in women's clothing...
" character of Widow Twankey
Widow Twankey is a female character in the pantomime Aladdin. The character is a pantomime dame, portrayed by a man; and is a comic foil to the principal boy, Aladdin – played by an actress.-History:...
(renamed Tuang Kee Chung for the programme). In fact, as a cast recording was released, this is a valuable record of what a traditional Aladdin pantomime (albeit one by a composer/lyricist/playwright of superior talents) is like. To be fair, the plot has fewer completely gratuitous twists, and the songs a little more to do with the plot, than is usually the case with a "pure" Aladdin pantomime.
The wicked wizard Abanazar, in his desert home in Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...
, summons the spirits to tell him how he may obtain the magic lamp — source of all power. He is somewhat bemused to discover that the source lies in a Chinese Laundry in Peking, and the launderess' ne'er-do-well son Aladdin. The ghostly chorus of the spirits takes us into the next scene, where Aladdin himself is discussing with his mother the virtues of idleness.
The emperor's herald
A herald, or, more correctly, a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is often applied erroneously to all officers of arms....
proclaims that anyone looking upon the Princess Badroulbadour
Badroulbadour is a princess from the far east whom Aladdin married in The Story of Aladdin; or, the Wonderful Lamp...
as she passes on her way to the baths will be instantly executed. This is just the kind of challenge that Aladdin likes, so he rushes off to try to catch a glimpse of the Princess. When he returns from his quest the Widow is relieved that he is alive, but very concerned that the young couple are in love. Everyone, including the emperor himself, has a pretty shrewd idea of what has happened — but, as he explains in song to his daughter, "Loves's a luxury" that royals must forgo for reasons of state.
Abanazar's arrival seems like just the thing. He quickly convinces the widow and her son (neither of whom is very bright) that he is the boy's long lost uncle and that he will make Aladdin rich. The upshot of this finds Aladdin trapped in the cave — where he inadvertently summons the genie
Jinn or genies are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Together, jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. Religious sources say barely anything about them; however, the Qur'an mentions that...
of the ring — a sympathetic young lady who readily agrees to take him to his mother's house, after a few tears over the sad fact that "Genies have no mothers". The Widow Twankey starts to clean the rusty old lamp which is all her son has brought home — thus summoning another, much more powerful genie who makes it clear he will do anything for anyone unless they make unkind remarks about his green colouring. In no time at all Aladdin is a prince, and happily married to the princess of his dreams.
The Widow Twankey is now the Royal Mother-in-law — and manages to dispose of that rusty old lamp to Abanazar (disguised as a pedlar
A peddler, in British English pedlar, also known as a canvasser, cheapjack, monger, or solicitor , is a travelling vendor of goods. In England, the term was mostly used for travellers hawking goods in the countryside to small towns and villages; they might also be called tinkers or gypsies...
). He is now the Genie's new master — and he quickly takes the palace (complete with the princess and her mother-in-law) to Morocco.
Under sentence of death from the emperor, Aladdin follows the palace to Morocco with the aid of the genie of the ring, and, obtaining the lamp, he gets the palace and the princess back to their wonted places. Abanazar however follows Aladdin back to China, where it becomes apparent that in a contest of brains
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....
our hero hasn't a chance. What is he to do? A bit of old fashioned violence ("the old Kung-Fu
Chinese martial arts, also referred to by the Mandarin Chinese term wushu and popularly as kung fu , are a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" , "sects" or...
") is called for. This remedy applied, Abanazar is carried off by the Great Roc and all ends happily.
- The spell
- The proclamation
- Tuang Kee Po
- It is written in the sands
- There and then
- Love's a luxury
- Dream about me
- Song of the genie of the ring
- Song of the genie of the lamp
- All I did
- The dirge
- Life in the laundry
- Give him the old kung fu