Rosie Wainana had proved herself a natural on stage the previous year, and was offered the lead part of Aladdin. However, her working pattern then changed and she had to drop out. Fortunately for us, Kerry Ratcliffe had just left the Hillsborough society to join Grenoside and was able to step into the role. Kerry was introduced by John Lake, who was well known because of his singing performances in the Variety Show: John was persuaded to do a couple of walk-on parts as well.
This is the fourth time we’ve put Aladdin on. Ross Crowe played Widow Twankey, as he had done exactly 10 years earlier. I don’t mean he played the part exactly the same… you know what I mean. Similarly, Sally Capp was the choreographer in 2010; she had been a dancer in the very first Aladdin 33 years earlier.
Ross’ favourite part was the complicated routine when the policeman (Josh) gets pushed through the mangle, then (as the mangle keeps turning) a flat and somewhat elongated cardboard version comes back into view. Catching Josh and feeding back the cardboard cutout had to be done quickly by the backstage crew to make it funny, and in a very tight space, and in total darkness. On the first night, the cardboard Josh re-appeared minus one foot, which (with Ross’ reaction) made it even funnier!