The Civic Hall, Bedworth
December 2008
Reviewed by Freddie Wilkinson

Yeah it’s Panto time again! “Oh no it isn’t” “Oh yes it is” etc, etc, etc. Well ok it isn’t but it was a week or so ago when my girlfriend and I made an epic journey to Bedworth.

That’s right Bedworth, you know near Nuneaton, which is near Birmingham. I did worry when I typed in the venue’s postcode and the lovely well spoken sat-nav lady replied “Where???”

The Civic Hall actually turned out to be a bit of a hidden gem of a theatre with comfortable seats, modern interiors, ample car parking and a Greggs within walking distance – bonus!

The main reason for going along to this Duggie Chapman production of Aladdin was to see the magic of Safire a.k.a Stuart and Jayne Loughland. As with their last Panto Stuart and Jayne were also principle cast members, namely the rapping, blinged up Genie of the Lamp and the Slave of the Ring.

Magic performed included the heads off illusion and their excellent trademark crystal sub trunk, but it was their ever changing UV act in the guise of the Magic Light Puppet Company that would steal the show. Last year Safire unveiled a brilliant UV magic flying carpet with puppet rider, this year it went one better and had a real life Princess on board. It certainly brought about a few “Wows” from the almost capacity audience.

The rest of the show was just good old family fun, sadly it did have the token High School Musical number!!! Not that I’m knocking Princess Balroubadour (Quite a mouthful) played brilliantly by Charlotte Sulivan as she expertly held the show together and kept it moving along at quite a pace with great song and dance routines. This is more than can be said for Aladdin as out of the entire cast he was probably the weakest, which is a shame when you are the title character.

So after two and a half hours of comedy, magic, and music the show came to a close and we all lived happily ever after, ahhhhh.

Sadly the Panto season is at an end but you can catch Safire performing later in the year when they embark on Chuckle Trek – The Lost Generation with the Chuckle Bros. The whopping 60 date tour starts on February 12th and runs until June 14th 2008, and if it is anything like past efforts it will be well worth a visit. For more details have a look at their website

© Freddie Wilkinson, January 2009