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Sat 17th Feb. Showtime!

February 18, 2018


The end of another five show week here at Brick Lane Music Hall. If we arrive for a tea show the coaches are waiting outside the gates, ready for admission at One O’clock, and if we arrive for a lunch the car park is already full, as the audience arrived early and are already enjoying the three course lunch prepared by Saleem.


This week we were packed out as usual, and among our visitors was another member of the Grand Order Of Water Rats- John Styles. He met newly honoured Water Rat, Ben Goffe backstage . Ben’s brother Jack also visited us this week, as did Danielle and Victoria, friends of Nathan and Jordan.


Nathan, Danielle Irvine and Victoria Finan with Jordan backstage

Ben Goffe has had a busy Saturday night. As well as the 9pm to 11.30pm show at Brick Lane Music Hall, he is also appearing at a nightclub called “The Box” in London’s Soho, interacting with the revellers until 2am. That is like a throwback to the Good Old Days of London’s Nightclubs in the 1960’s, when artistes like Batbara Windsor, Amanda Barrie and Jan Hunt played several clubs a night- like Danny La Rues, Winstons, Churchills and The L’Hirrondelle – Good luck Ben. Lots of Red Bull needed I suspect!


Stage Manager Rhys took this artistic shot from the wings during the finale!

Vincent plays Aladdin’s Brother Wishee Washee in our “Aladdin”. His character, like Widow Twankey has undergone some changes during the early days of pantomime, settling down when the Music Hall era gave the character a boost by employing some of the favourite comedians for the part.


Here’s a few Tit-Bits from this website’s “Storybook” about the role:

Wishee Washee was a late arrival to the pantomime of “Aladdin”. He emerged at the time when the East End of London and other areas began to see Chinese laundries starting up business. By the time “Wishee” came along- around 1889, and again at Drury Lane in 1896, Twankey was established as a laundress, and his character was there to help, or more likely hinder her. He is the Chinese version of Idle Jack, or Simple Simon.

slackryanaladdin justinfletcherwishee

Some Wishee Washees- Matt Slack with Andrew Ryan as Twankey, Justin Fletcher as Wishee

In 1896 the role was played by Dan Leno. The character’s name seemed to sum up his position, and it has not changed- except when “He” becomes “Them!” Double act comedians have sometimes played the part calling themselves “Wishee” and “Washee”. Lauri Lupino Lane and George Truzzi often teamed up to play these roles in the 1950’s.

More often these days Wishee Washee is Aladdin’s brother.


Stuart Wade at York Opera House

As Wishee Washee grew in strength, the part of Abanazar’s Slave “Kasrac” fell out of favour.


David Phipps-Davis


Until the release of the Disney film “Aladdin” in 1992, the villain of the piece had retained his name since at least 1813. Along came the film, and suddenly millions of children believe that he is really called Jaffar!


John Thompson as Abanazar with Sherrie Hewson as Slave – Manchester 2016-2017

The name Abanazar was used by Farley at Covent Garden when he produced his “Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp” in April 1813. In the original story he was known only as “The African Magician”. He has had other names, briefly- Abel el Nisir at the Amphitheatre (1830) and Kiradamac at the Charing Cross Theatre (1874) At the Crystal Palace he was Abenazac (1889) and even Hocus Pocus at the Moreton Theatre in 1891. Generally, his name has remained Abanazar, very occasionally “Abanaza”, and, in pantomime his homeland is usually Egypt.

chal;lisabanazar 4th December 2014 
Aladdin, Hull New Theatre

Sherrie’s Benidorm Hubby, John Challis as The Villain. James Barron in Hull.


In his book “ Some Pantomime Pedigrees” Clinton-Baddeley points out that Abanazar originally had a slave called “Kasrac”. This part was played by Joseph Grimaldi in 1813, and again in 1826. The part remained in “Aladdin” on and off, and given the name “Kassarak”  was to be found in Drury Lane in 1909. However, this part soon vanished into the ether as the more powerful Slaves of the Lamp and the Ring took over. He lived on in Emile Littler’s productions of “Aladdin”, but as “Kazim– Slave of the Lamp”.

SONY DSC mcgeeslave Aladdin-at-The-Hippoclary

Nigel Ellacott as Slave at Brick Lane, Debbie McGee as Slave and Julian Clary as Slave with Lee Mead and Matt Slack. (Birmingham).

Next week gets even busier at Brick Lane- we play Tuesday to Saturday with an additional show on The Saturday- so we will play 2pm and 9pm on that Saturday! I might be sneaking home in make-up between shows for that one- not on public transport I hasten to add!





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