MAGICAL” is what my eldest daughter said. “Flabbergasting” was my youngest’s verdict. I agree — Arabian Nights by Manchester Library Theatre Company is an outstanding production with a fantastic cast which makes for an amazing family night out.
From the market traders “selling” wares to the audience as if the theatre were a souk to galloping “horses” whizzing past our noses, the actors’ performances had us drawn in from the minute it started.
Hats off to all the cast, as the play is staged in-the-round, without the help of stage-hands or dimming of lights. This meant there’s nowhere to hide — yet the actors take this in their stride, and shine from start to finish.
The array of props is gloriously low-tech, yet highly creative and humorous — praise to designer Hayley Grindle.
Shahrazad’s Ali Baba, Es-Sindibad the Sailor, the wife who wouldn’t eat, the little beggar . . . all the stories are spell-bindingly spun out in front of the audience, underneath coloured lanterns dangling from the ceiling and coloured bulbs strung from the balconies.
The actor to watch is Tachia Newall, for his comedy qualities, expressive face and acrobatic prowess — a real crowd pleaser whether a man-turned-dog, hapless beggar boy or street-style prince.
Darwen-born director Amy Leach has magically put together a show involving nearly 100 characters with just nine, admittedly top class, actors. Arabian Nights offers panto-bored youngsters and adults some top quality, eye-catching and rib-tickling escapism.
- Until Saturday, January 12. Details from 0844 815 4873.