This year’s Christmas pantomime, performed four times over the weekend at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, brought the story of Aladdin to the stage. The show started with a dance number set to “Arabian Nights. (Photo: CLAIRE SHEFCHIK)

With a flick of their scarves and twirl of colourful umbrellas, the cast of this year’s Christmas pantomime welcomed audience members at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College to experience an “Arabian Night” with their opening dance number.

The play then followed the love story of Princess Jasmine and Aladdin amid over-the-top jokes and action.

The pantomime version of the play, penned by British writer Ben Crocker, is set largely in China. It follows the antics of the down-on-his-luck hero, his fashionable widow mother Twankey, a tough-yet-speechless panda named Nobby, their assistant at the family laundromat, a bumbling pair of police officers, a charismatic set of genies, Jasmine and her father, and the evil Abanazar with his parrot Othello.

Children joined in the interactive elements of the pantomime, gleefully booing the heinous sorcerer as he schemed to obtain a magical lamp and cheering as Nobby got up to his mischievous hijinks — one of which resulted in a tumble in a washing machine.

Viewers also clapped along as the genies of the lamp made their first appearance amid smoke and lights, launching into a dance with Aladdin to the song “Friend Like Me.”

The performance also included a rendition of the famous duet “A Whole New World” with starring cast members Aoife Sinead and Nathanial Eker-Male.

Nathanial Eker-Male, centre, plays the titular Aladdin in this year’s Christmas pantomime as he discovers the genies of the lamp. The cast held four performances over the weekend. (Photo: CLAIRE SHEFCHIK)
A tradition

Last year, a pantomime of “Snow White” was held at U.P.’s Cineplex, but this year the show shifted to the larger theatre venue at HLSCC, drawing hundreds of attendees to the four performances held over the weekend.

Director Claudia Knight has organised Christmas pantomimes for years and said she plans to take on the task again next year, though she has yet to choose a fairy tale.

Brendon Carey, who played Nobby, said putting on such a large production took hard work and dedication but was worth it.

“Claudia, our super-talented director, inspires you to become someone or something on stage and to take it to the limit and beyond,” he said. “I had the best time and already miss it.”

Mr. Eker-Male agreed that working with the cast was the best part of participating in this year’s play.

“It really was a dream team and was so much fun,” he said.