Review: Upstagers Production of Sinbad at the King’s Hall, Ilkley, Friday, January 24

THE Upstagers annual pantomime returned to the King’s Hall in Ilkley last weekend with their production of Sinbad, which was, once again, a triumph from start to finish. Sinbad is one of the lesser known pantomime stories, but it had all of the important elements that panto land demands and expects, with Sinbad having fantastic adventures in magical realms whilst encountering monsters, fairy tale creatures and plenty of characters along the way. It is a story that the writers have clearly had a lot of fun creating with plenty of traditional panto fun and lots of occasions for the audience to join in. There are sketch scenes that are cleverly put together and that had the whole audience in fits of laughter. The scenery, lighting, sound effects and costumes, were all stunning and certainly gave the “wow” factor and the overall effect was simply spectacular!

The whole cast oozed energy, confidence and enthusiasm from start to finish on their opening night. The audience were completely enthralled. In the title role was Lois Brook as Sinbad, partnered by Princess Shahazerad played by Emeli Mumford. They both have beautiful singing voices and brilliant stage presence. Their musical numbers were delivered with such confidence, ease and expertise.

George Scaife played the scheming Grand Vizier Vindicta and is evil in every which way. He delivers his villainy to perfection and got the boos and hisses he deserved! He was brilliantly supported by Katherine Griffiths in the role of Kronk – his loveable yet dim sidekick.

Harry Hodge played the part of Finbad, Sinbad’s younger brother and the comic role for the show. His rapport with the audience was excellent and his comedy timing and delivery was brilliant.

It was a delight to see Elliot Broadfoot return to the Upstagers family as Dame Senorita Margarita. From start to finish, the energy of this young man was incredible and he had the audience in gales of laughter from start to finish. His musical numbers were superbly delivered and he completely dazzled in every single outfit, of which there were many!

The choreography by Laura Williams was superb and musical number after musical number flowed from start to finish. The energy from the entire cast was unbelievable. There was a cast of well over eighty people listed in the programme. As well as the principal performers there was a full chorus and ensemble ranging from the Tinies up to the Senior Dancers who all were singing and dancing effortlessly and with such enthusiasm it was a pleasure to see. It makes you tired just watching them!

The Jolly Rogers Band, under the musical direction of Phil Walsh were excellent, playing a superb selection of very up to date as well as traditional musical numbers which really went down a treat with the audience.

The Upstagers team must be very proud of what this talented set of youngsters achieve year after year, production after production. Sinbad runs until Saturday, February 1and this reviewer would urge everyone to go along and support the hard work and dedication of the Upstagers team because I guarantee you’ll have such a good time doing so. I’m already looking forward to seeing their production of Shrek the Musical in the summer!

Reviewed by Sally Holmes – NODA North East District 11 Representative (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)