‘Aladdin & the Magic Lamp’ at Pumpkin Theatre

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Pure giddy-ness, energy running at about a ten, and heart felt childlike laughter, literally!! – That is what the atmosphere encompassed as we walked in Pumpkin Theatre. But of course, that should’ve been expected as tiny theatre goers grabbed their parents hands to skip in to see Alyn Cardarelli’s Aladdin & The Magic Lamp!! I, too, was able to feel the excitement firsthand because my date for this production was my eight year old niece.

Thom Sinn (Sorcerer), Amy Gneco (Princess Opal), and Sasha (Erin Confair). Photo courtesy of  Pumpkin Theatre.

Thom Sinn (Sorcerer), Amy Gneco (Princess Opal), and Sasha (Erin Confair). Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.

The hallways built excitement as they were decorated with magical, colorful lamps leading to the main stage, but not before meeting vibrant decorated tables of well sought out kid snacks and magical takeaway gifts.

The story of Aladdin is one that uncovers the innocence of true love, pure greed, and naivety – a genuine whirlwind of good versus evil.

Scenic Designer Heather M. Mork walked us into the experience with the set of an humble abode. Multicolored dishes spruced up the stage backdrop, along with a plain kitchen table and chair. The addition of gold lemme curtains gave off the sneak smell that royalty lurked about.

Ironically, very soon, the village’s princess, Opal, (the radiant Amy Gneco) alongside her maid servant entered Aladdin’s home, and from there, his life was never to be the same. Like most ruling families, the laws involving interaction with the princess were strict. Princess Opal had reached the age to be married and there was a full search to select the perfect groom. Until such took place, the princess was to always wear a face veil. For the first male to grace her beauty had to be her husband.

Princess Opal constantly groveled about her unfair life and loathed the idea of forced marriages. She desired to love. An accidental bump with Aladdin caused her veil to fall. The two met eyes and seemed to fall in love spontaneously. Ut oh, she was royalty. He was a mere tailor. Plus he broke the law when he saw her without her veil? What were the two to do?  And as if that wasn’t problem enough, Aladdin had a long lost “uncle” lurking with terrible intentions to destroy him. Poor Aladdin.

You had no choice but to “oh and ah” as each character was introduced. Costume Director Wil E. Crowther clothed the cast in elegant, brilliant garb dripping with metallic, shimmer and glitz. From the creativity wrapped turban tops, all the way down to their curl tipped shoes, this troupe’s attire embodied the world of magic.

Sam Hayder (Alladin) and (Princess Opal). Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.

Sam Hayder (Alladin) and Amy Gneco (Princess Opal). Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.

Sam Hayder played Aladdin and used his wit and sincerity to win the audience.

Thom Sinn, who play Malfi (Aladdin’s “uncle”), was engaging. The way Director Stacey Needle, had him interact with the audience by sharing his haunting intentions to harm Aladdin triggered a huge reaction from   the children in the audience. The kids yelled back at the villain, and tried desperately to warn Aladdin of his doings. Sinn stepped into his antagonist role effortlessly and was believable and unnerving.

Those familiar with the Aladdin story, awaited the arrival of the genie. Anthony Scimonelli didn’t disappoint. Dressed in a cream with gold accents ensemble, with metallic makeup to allow his skin to blend with his dressing, Genie was as gorgeous as a man could be, smile. His high impact energy and charisma matched his physical appeal. Stacey Needle’s direction for him to utilize the entire stage with jumps, turns and spins, the entire time captivated us.  He had a magnetic charm, and it was refreshing  to feel that Aladdin had some relief, and perhaps protection now on his side.

To my surprise, I fell in love with the character Mahesh, played by Robert Harris. He was a palace guard who tried diligently to master his position, even though he seemed to lack common sense. The way Needle directed him to deliver one-liners to the audience led to hearty laughter, and my secretly wanting him to succeed. He was engaging.

Lighting Design by Lana Riggins and Orchestrations by Mandee Ferrier Roberts were synchronized perfectly. Wishes granted by Genie, thrilling effects of the villian’s entrance were all enhanced with the their fine lighting and music.

Through Aladdin & The Magic Lamp, my niece and I shared a majestic afternoon of love, triumph, and laughter  From the energy that filled the theatre, it seemed all families felt the same way. The children cheered as love and goodness prevailed at the end, and roared as the actors took their final bows. It was an electrifying time for all.

Bring your kids and grandkids and all your friends and their kids and grandkids to see Pumpkin Theatre’s entertaining Aladdin & The Magic Lamp!

Running Time: Approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission.

Aladdin & The Magic Lamp plays through September 28, 2014 at The Pumpkin Theatre at Har Sinai Congregation— 2905 Walnut Avenue in Owings Mills, Maryland. For tickets call the box office at (410) 902- 1814 or purchase them online.

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