Chinese Laundry Opens at Theatre Severn


Theatre Severn

4th December 2019-12th January 2020

For Matinees see Theatre Severn Guide

Well it is that time of year again. It cannot be believed that a full twelve months whizzed by since I was writing last year’s Panto review. However a year has passed, I need to get over it and move on to this year’s wonderful panto…Aladdin. I have said many times that Bradd Fitt is the the funniest man in the world. I am delighted to state cateogorically that he has done nothing this year to dissuade me from that point of view. He is hilarious.

Aladdin is the Arabian Night’s story of a boy who has to seek for treasure so he can be rich enough to marry the Princess Jasmine, offspring of Abacanazer. Pretty much staying on story they really don’t need it:  It is almost a distraction from the hilarious antics of Bradd Fitt and BBC Rdio Shropshire's Breakfast man, Eric Smith.

Dave Bibby’s Wishee Washee proved a firm favourites with the children and with the adults too. He is Aladdin’s brother and involves himself in all the plans and ruses that Aladdin and Widow Twankey  involve him in. Very adeptly played he became a real favoutite with the youngsters.

Harry Winchester’s Aladdin is a fine job. With a really interesting range on his vocal he plays well and the eponymous Aladdin works well with Wishee Washee  and the two actors seem perfectly comfortable with each other; that is an indication of much work. The more the pantomime is worked and rehearsed the more complete the picture becomes. This is an intensely strong cast who work well together and share their happiness with the audience.

It is a contagious happiness as one saw fully grown adults doing the actions to the songs and even one was heard to shout, “It’s behind you!” It is almost like the last few years have been about training for this year’s as the repetitive jokes that the audience adore every year, were back with a vengeance and the hilarity poured out as though the pot was leaking. But that is the skill of the cast and the writer, and the synergie between them. The cast understand Paul Hendy’s writing as do the audience and there is a unique warmth and comfort generated by the cast but it is reciprocated from the audience. It is like belonging to a special club where everyone is welcome as a member so long as they get the joke.

Well tonight get the joke they sure did as the audience hooted almost non-stop from beginning to end.

With all the trimmings such as flying magic carpets and Elephants…(I kid ye not) Elephants, the show has a feeling of greatness about it.

Lavishly costumed especially Mr. Fitt’s outfits; the show was just so aesthetically pleasing and the lighting and sound and effects worked perfectly well creating light, mood, colour and shade. The sound was also incredibly tight for so early in a run.

One found the set really pleasingly good and the changes of scenes and sets was so quick and noiseless.

People have worked very hard on this show as they do every year. How lucky Shrewsbury has been to bag this company for their own at Christmas and how lucky Shrewsbury is to have Eric and Bradd. It was also a treat for the audience to see Victoria Macabe again,she is a great singer and a wonderful presence on any stage one is sure of that. Her characterisation is faultless and the baton of the beauty of the show has been picked up by Victoria and she as ever, owns her role.

With Dec Moran playing the delightful Chinese Policeman and The Genie and Spirit of the ring being played by Anelisa Lamola and Kate Malyon respectively, one fault them all highly entertaining.. They were incredibly funny and the Genie always start off personal thoughts  of what one might achieve had one got a Spirit or a Genie of one’s own. Kate also has a rich deep and entirely satisfying blues voice and her vocals brought an extra layer of professionalism to the overall presentation.

There are three teams of local children to dance and add to the crowd scenes. I was delighted to see such professionalism in such young children. A testament not only to their individual talent but a reflection on the eye for detail that Bradd Fitt needed to have to direct such a show and to use his players all to their full potential as he does. He seems to bring that out of people and he is a genius and with the magic his Diector’s hand he has weaved an hilarious success..

Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn panto is legendary. A pinnacle if you like, in the year for the Theatre. It seems so fitting that out of all the brilliant people who have trodden those boards this year,  the best is almost homespun. Paul Hendy is after all, a Telford lad.

I have laughed like a drain tonight there were tears of hilarity rolling down my face and even this steely hearted reviewer was laughing and singing along with all the rest of them. Yes the time of year is special and we are all getting ready for Christmas in that melee there is magic and that magic finds its way each year onto the stage at Theatre Severn to remind us all that life is funny, we can love one another and actually have a real good laugh to destress the Christmas preparations. Long may it reign.

Evolution Productions who bring us this show have got it just right. The relationship between Theatre Severn and Evolution is good and the results speak for themselves. What a way to start the season.

Happy Christmas to all of you thank you for continuing to read and share me. I love talking to you and telling you about my experiences. You very kindly listen, so for that thank you and may I be first to say Happy Christmas and may New Year bring you all the love and happiness you desire. See you next year!

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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