Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LOCAL FOCUS -

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee TONY Ni­cholls is the best pantomime writer Wem­b­ley The­atre Com­pany di­rec­tor Bryce Man­ning knows.

So it is lit­tle sur­prise the play­wright is a con­stant source of creativ­ity for the com­mu­nity the­atre com­pany’s an­nual pro­duc­tion, which this year is Ni­cholls’ Aladdin.

“This ver­sion of Aladdin has been up­dated re­cently and flows very well,” Man­ning said.

“It has a nat­u­ral, fast pace which is es­sen­tial to a good panto.

“In the past 21 years of Wem­b­ley The­atre Com­pany his­tory we have pre­sented Aladdin four times, but only this re­cent up­dated ver­sion once.”

Man­ning said he would be act­ing, as well as di­rect­ing the pro­duc­tion, step­ping into the role of the evil Abanazar.

“What I en­joy about act­ing is the op­por­tu­nity to be some­one else and Abanazar is cer­tainly some­one else,” he said.

“He is quite a nasty char­ac­ter and there re­ally is noth­ing good in him.

“His first lines are ‘I am this panto’s wicked vil­lain, my job is to stir the plot and ter­rify you chil­dren’.

“Play­ing the nasty ones is quite ab­sorb­ing and I love stirring up the au­di­ence, get­ting them to boo and hiss.”

Man­ning is part of a cast of 15 who range in age from 12 years old to him­self.

He said an enor­mous amount of work went into pro­duc­ing a pantomime but it was worth it when see­ing au­di­ence re­ac­tions. “Pan­tos cleanse the soul,” Man­ning said.

“Kids laugh, mums and dads laugh, ev­ery­one’s happy at the end of a panto; cast and au­di­ence. “It’s just good old-fash­ioned fam­ily fun.”

Tanya MacNaughton

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