Aladdin, 1970

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Aladdin 1970During the late 1960s and early 70s I worked at a holiday home for children who were disabled. As part of the entertainment the staff arranged for the youngsters was a pantomime which could be pressed into use at any time of the year. Here we see the conclusion of “Aladdin” with the principal characters on stage singing the final song. The mists of time have eroded from my memory what that song may have been but that’s me on the guitar. As well as hopping about from the guitar to playing the organ I also acted the genie in this one.

The scenery is all made on plastic sheets which were easily stored and made scene changing a doddle. They did become brittle after a time and all the paint would flake off if we were too energetic during a change. You can’t see them here, but there were wings on this portable set with curtains suspended from the rail above us; this was attached each end to a large wooden tripod. At the end of the performance all this would have to be stowed away until it was next needed.

It may look foggy because it was. To make the genie appear in a flash we used a home-made mixture of chemicals which when ignited gave off a flare. If we used too much sugar in this mix the flare exuded a huge amount of smoke and I guess after I had appeared in a puff of smoke a number of times during this performance a large amount of the stuff would be left hanging around.

It was after once such performance that I slipped when putting all this stuff away and fell through the ceiling breaking a number of ribs as I bounced of the top of the supporting wall on the way down. Ah the perils of the acting profession eh?

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