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Feb 8th. Twankey’s Tit Bits!

February 8, 2018

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Another packed tea time matinee today, the third show of the week- and a very lovely standing ovation at the end, which was a heartwarming sight!

Yesterday Vincent, Andrew Robley, Andrew Ryan  and I joined our mate Sherrie Hewson for a meal in Town, to catch up on things Benidorm. Sherrie is going out with a National Tour of a stage version of the hit series, “Benidorm Live” along with Jake Canuso, Tony Maudsley, Janine Duvitski, Adam Gillen and Shelley Longworth.IMG_5078

Here we all are with Danny Vanderpump, Manager at Balans Soho Society.

Sherrie’s tour takes her all over the country with the Stage Show- it seems only a week or so since she was in Nottingham’s Theatre Royal in “Beauty & The Beast” with Andrew Ryan. Hopefully we will catch up again on Friday.

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Lucy as Aladdin with Nathan, Sam and Jordan.

Brick Lane’s Pantomime is one for the grown-ups, but it does adhere to the the traditional storyline and the features you’d expect in a Panto- in fact we have a very traditional Principal Boy played by Lucy Reed, and all the stock characters from the original story. Talking of which, what WAS the original story? I quote from this website’s Panto Storybook!

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The tale of “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp” originates as one story in the epic “1001 Nights” or “Arabian Nights”.

This collection of stories was first recorded in the 9th Century, with tales brought together from China, India, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and places in the East. In 942 AD the collection contained only 264  stories. It is believed that others, including “Aladdin” were added later during European translations in the 18th Century, when the number  increased.

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Originally these tales were supposed to be the stories told by Scheherazade to her husband, the King. The King, set on revenge after his first wife was unfaithful to him, decided to marry each day, and execute his wife the next morning. Not surprisingly the wives were in short supply, and it became the turn of the Vizier’s daughter, Scheherazade.

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Scheherazade hit on a plan to remain alive for as long as possible, and each night would tell her husband a thrilling story, promising to complete it the following day. Eventually, after 1001 nights of entertaining stories the King abandoned his cruel plot, and Scheherazade was saved.

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The above is part of a 1920’s Aladdin Toy Theatre I have in my collection

The Three Wishes

The legend of someone being granted three magical wishes dates back to the 3rd Century AD. “The Book of Sindibad” in the 9th Century AD  is in part the framework of the “Arabian Nights”, in which the tale of “Aladdin” appears.

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Why “Twankey”. Why is it set in China not Arabia?

The Pantomime true origin happened when the great pantomime author Henry J.Byron wrote his burlesque “Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp” performed at the Strand Theatre during April 1861. From this version all the modern “Aladdins” are descended.

In my opening lines in the BLMH version I say , as Slave of The Lamp”- Aladdin Widow Twankey’s Son, A Laundry Boy, He’s such a scamp!” Nice to know I’m harking back to the VERY original!

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In this production of 1861 the part of TWANKAY was created by Mr James Rogers, who had recently finished playing “Ugly Sister” Clorinda for Byron in his “Cinderella”. The part, as we know actually went back to that early production in 1788, and the name goes back to 1861. Apart from characters named in “Robinson Crusoe”, Aladdin’s mother has the oldest pedigree in the history of pantomime. Twankay was a type of tea- so the name was comic from the start, and would be the same as calling her “Widow Typhoo” or “Widow PG Tips” in later times!

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It can get chilly as Winter Draws on!!

So there we have it, a “Tale As Old As Time” and we are retelling it every day here in Silvertown but with a Music Hall tilt to it.  We have a Girl as a Boy, and We have a Gent as a Lady- Two in fact, as I’ve taken on the role of Slave Of The Lamp in a Principal Boy meets Dame sort of fashion! We are very trad. The Baddie- Abanazar, played by David Phipps-Davis ALWAYS enters from Stage Left (The “Bad” side) and Ben Goffe as Genie Of The Ring ALWAYS enters from Stage Right- The “Good Side”.

Aren’t you glad you read this blog for the Tit Bits?

Tomorrow we have a Lunch Time Show, and possibly as Special Guest…. More on that in the next Blog, along with more “Aladdin” facts!

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