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The exotic world of ‘The Arabian Nights’ is coming to Kings Langley

 Published on: 23rd December 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

The pantomime treat from Kings Langley Players this season is Ben Crocker’s Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, coming to the village next month A roistering tale of skulduggery, it will transport audiences to old Baghdad, where young Ali Baba needs the wherewithal to buy the freedom of his slave-girl sweetheart. What a stroke of luck to discover a secret treasure trove. Sheer misfortune that he finds it in the cave of the Forty Thieves – and that they want it all back! But with the aid of his dear old Mum and Kamil, the smelliest of camels, Ali sets out to outwit villainous Mustapha and his band of baddies.  It’s traditional panto with added oomph (from the pen that brought you The Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast)! Nick Davey is in the driving seat as director, aided and abetted by his co-director, Rebecca Davey. Nick confesses he’s mad about panto and can’t believe his luck at helming this production. “I hadn’t been involved with panto for quite a while, until last year. (Nick did a scene stealing turn as a giant French poodle.) Beauty and the Beast reminded me how much I love it.  The sheer joy and fun of pantomime is very different from any other theatre genre.  And writer Ben Crocker is an absolute master of panto!  That’s why we’ve had supreme success with two previous scripts of his – what he offers is a traditional pantomime for a modern audience. Ben writes stuff that gives huge scope to the performing company to put in all the business they want to – and we’re grasping that with both hands.  The songs and music that come with the script are also incredible. We will not be singing a single chart hit or known song this year but I guarantee that people will be humming them for ages afterwards because they really are that good!” As first time, but totally dedicated, panto directors Nick and Rebecca are supported by an experienced production team intent on pulling out all the stops to make Ali Baba as much a treat for the eyes and ears as the KLP’s previous two Ben Crocker pantomimes. Clive Swan is the highly respected musical director who’ll deliver that tuneful score: “As we had such fun with Ben Crocker’s original songs over the last two years, we decided to go with his score entirely, as it was so strong and the lyrics progressed the storyline so effectively. The show has a wealth of great songs. Funky, up-beat, and ballads, they’re all there!”  This is Clive’s sixth pantomime with the KLP, testament to a highly productive partnership. His co-conspirator is choreographer Julie Edgar: “I have a very special magic fairy dust especially for those great KLP hoofers” says Julie. “Only used for Panto of course!  A liberal sprinkling of such magic transforms even the most committed two-left-footers into the panto heroes we know and love.” For Sally-Anne Rafferty this is a second outing as a pantomime set designer (her quirky designs for the ‘talking furniture’ in Beauty and the Beast were a notable feature of last year’s production) – this year she’s taken on the challenge of turning the KLP stage into a legendary Arabian Nights city. Adding the icing to the cake, or that final touch of razzle-dazzle, is lighting and sound designer Ron Balmforth. “Overall it’s about making the show look bright and colourful (except when it needs to be dark and gloomy) and sound big and bold (except when it’s quiet and intimate)!”   Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is on stage at the Kings Langley Community Centre 8-10 January 20145 – with two matinees as well as an evening performance on Saturday. The Players’ free online box office is live twenty-four seven.  Tickets are already being snapped up – especially for those two matinees! Just go to the website at www.klp.org.uk to book exactly the seats you want, for the performance you want – at the click of a mouse.  (If you’re not on-line you can, of course, still ring the KLP on 07906 695959.)

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