Nomination - Best Actor in a Musical (Bolton Evening News Amateur Theatre Awards) - Steve Benson
25th - 30th April 2005
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Nora Howcroft
Musical Director Steve Taylor
Choreographer Barbara Martin
Hajj Steve Benson
Lalume Adrienne Wormald
Marsinah Lindsay Farnworth
The Caliph David Griffiths
Omar Khayyam Don Howcroft
The Wazir Don Fairclough
Jawan David Reeves
Chief Policeman Mike Fallon
Princess of Ababu Jess Barnett
Princess of Ababu Charlotte Fallon
Princess of Ababu Elizabeth Pycroft
Ayah to Zubbediya Eileen Reeves
Iman Keith Richardson
Hassan-Ben Mike Bailey
Bangle Man Ross Dunning
Orange Seller Jean Maden
Widow Yussef Joyce Walters
Prosecutor Mike Taylor
Zubbediya Helen Popplewell
Samahris Carole Brooks
Marriage Arranger Janet Witt
Fig Seller Alan Hitchen
Sammie Banks, Beth Corrigan, Catherine Dunning, Lucy Finney, Hazel Gray, Jill Marsden, Yvonne Neary, Gill Pollitt, Ruth Prescott, Mary Pycroft, Helen Savage, Vicky Witt, Ron Finney, Jamie Haddow, Kevin Ogden, Kevan Worsley, Tom Fairclough, Danny Chambers, Alex Glen, Adam Walmsley
  • Hajj and Guards Hajj and Guards
  • Lalume and the Wazir Lalume and the Wazir
  • The Princesses of Ababu The Princesses of Ababu
  • The Caliph and Marsinah The Caliph and Marsinah
  • The Beggars of Baghdad The Beggars of Baghdad
  • Marsinah in the Marketplace Marsinah in the Marketplace
  • Omar Khayyam Omar Khayyam
  • Jawan Jawan
  • The Wazir and his wife, Lalume The Wazir and his wife, Lalume
  • Hajj "Gesticulate" Hajj "Gesticulate"
  • Marsinah "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" Marsinah "Baubles, Bangles and Beads"
  • Hajj becomes Emir Hajj becomes Emir
  • Hajj plots with the Wazir Hajj plots with the Wazir
  • Princess Zubbediya and her Ayah Princess Zubbediya and her Ayah
  • Hajj and Lalume Hajj and Lalume
  • The Caliph and Omar in the garden The Caliph and Omar in the garden
  • Lalume and Guards Lalume and Guards
  • The Caliph, Marsinah, Lalume and Hajj The Caliph, Marsinah, Lalume and Hajj

  • Bolton Evening News Review
  • NODA North West News Review
George Forrest and Robert Wright, who had reset the melodies of Edvard Grieg for Song of Norway, adapted themes by Alexander Borodin to create Kismet in 1953. This Arabian Nights-style folktale talked like a comedy, dressed like a burlesque skit and sang like an operetta. Director Nora Howcroft has made sure the essential elements are retained or this classy, colourful, grown-up musical.

As Hajj, the Beggar poet who ends up as Wazir of Baghdad via several astonishing twists of fate, Steve Benson gives his usual impeccable mixture of quietly confident acting and musical presence to carry the story, along with Lalume, played with mischievous, vampish delight by Adrienne Wormald. Don Fairclough is excellent as the insidious villain Wazir, while Don Howcroft is superb as sanguine court poet Omar Khayyam.

The signature tune of Kismet, Stranger in Paradise, is delivered with show-stopping perfection by Lindsay Farnworth as Marsinah and David Griffiths as the Caliph, and their quartet of And This Is My Beloved, with Benson and Fairclough, makes you hold your breath in case you miss any of it.

There is wonderful support from David Reeves as Jawan and Mike Fallon as the Chief Policeman, as well as glorious orchestration from MD Steve Taylor and downright funky choreography by Barbara Martin.

Nigel McFarlane
A show which `tests the ‘mettle' of any society and one that many do not tackle due to its convoluted plot and difficult music. However, much credit must go to producer, Nora Howcroft, and the company for such a proficient production.

The production was backed by a well constructed multi-purpose set which allowed continuity and completed with sumptuous colourful costumes. Just occasionally the music got a little out of sync. However, the orchestra was generally well controlled by musical director, Steve Taylor.

Steve Benson produced a faultless performance as Hajj as he demonstrated his `magic powers' to the Wazir whose flighty and titillating wife, Lalume, was played with relish by Adrienne Wormald. Don Fairclough seems to have a penchant for comedy as he effectively demonstrated in his excellent portrayal of the blustering Wazir whilst Lindsay Farnworth sang `Stranger in Paradise', amongst others, beautifully as Marsinah. The body language of David Griffiths rather belied his status as the Caliph; however, he sang very well as did Mike Fallon as the Chief Policeman.

There was good support from David Reeves as the imposing Jawan and Don Howcroft as the court poet Omar Khayyam. Choreographer, Barbara Martin devised some good routines which the Princesses of Ababu, Jess Barnett, Elizabeth Pycroft and Charlotte Fallon danced very well. Congratulations on another fine production.

Glyn Neary

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