This year I didn't think I would have time to watch CF5's latest production a pantomime that pays homage to both Aladdin and Dick Whittington, but I am very glad I found that time.
It began with a rousing song by the villagers of 'Coleford', and was followed by a very funny, witty and original script written by CF5's own Paul Drake, who also produced the show. A massive pat of the back to Paul, I thought it was as good as any professional script.
Fairy Tinkle played by the pretty and talented Eva Heatley outlined the story for us, she was closely followed on stage by the marvellously hissable 'Evil Jim', Robert Harrison who explained how he would spoil the plot.
As we get into the story we meet Stupot Addin and his brother Al played by the excellent pair of Maddy Flagg and Sandra Hull, their mother luscious Lulu, and her admirer Lord Poppycock, the always funny Henry Banks, and Bill Grant.
Al Addins' love interest the beautiful leggy blonde Alice, played with great confidence by newcomer Andrea Kelly, is Evil Jims' daughter (she obviously takes after her mother), and therefore the path of true love cannot run smoothly as Evil Jim sends her to his wicked sister, Auntie P's, the equally hissable Stephanie Chorley, finishing school for Hell in a land far far away.
We are treated to two Genies, Mark 1 and 2, played by the fabulous double act of Catherine Billing and Laura Hunt, who travel with our principals to rescue Alice, travelling in a ship crewed by Captain Blackbird and his second mate, another excellent pairing of Don Grant, and Becky Morgan. While they are on their way we meet the school pupils and have a wonderful comic rendition of Brick in the Wall, it bought the house down.
The younger children played with great enthusiasm by Isobel Billing, Ruby Coles, Eva Heatly, and Daisy Ward, help Alice to escape and our travelling heroes soon arrive to finish the job out smarting the nasty Jim and Auntie P.
As the show comes to a close we are treated to a wedding but in a twist it is not our young lovebirds, but Lulu and Lord Poppycock.
Throughout the pantomime the villagers, played by Heather Allen, Noel Avis, Jean Coles, Gay Curtis, Mary and Mike Darville, Jo Doggrel, Alison McCausland, Jo Prandy and Enid Shaw, supported the main characters fantastically.
As ever the very talented David Hull was a slick and professional musical director.
Well done too to all the lighting, back stage, and front of house crews excellent as always.