Ian Biggs and Sam Mansfield as Ali Baba and Tinbad are wide-eyed and innocent whilst David Buckmaster as Al Raschid is horribly and credibly evil and well supported by Achmed the Orrible (Stuart Hawthorn). Slapstick and corny quips are amply supplied by the two peasants Hanky Panky and Jiggeri Pokeri (Keith Edgington and Margaret Biggs) whilst John Card's pantomime dame, Cascara, is a constant source of light-hearted innuendo. The love interest is there in the tale of Haroun (played by Claire Middlehurst) and Marsaina (Melissa Mulvany), the exploited slave who appears to be permanently dressed as a belly dancer and the forty thieves are menacing and silly by turns.
The whole is carried along by a selection of well chosen songs and well choreographed dances: the sand spirits, none seemingly over the age of 10, are very sweet whilst the Eastern Dancers, though hardly delicate, do dance with great gusto.
The provision of headsets for the actors presumably makes the show audible to the back row, but it does add a certain surreal quality to an already quirky show. Expert scene changes make it run smoothly, though the whole show would probably benefit from a 50% edit, as 12 scene changes make it an entertainment marathon, even if tea and biscuits are provided in the interval to keep you going.
This is definitely a good night out, though beware of sitting in the front row as you may well be asphyxiated by the constant stream of green smoke, struck by a loose dagger blade or contaminated by showers of loose spittle from the vituperating Al Raschid....