WHEN Jacqui McArthur and Ian McCreath took on the duties of directing the St Meddan’s Church Special Projects pantomime back in the summer they cast the net out in a bid to attract some new and young talent.

The stars of the future were secured along with older hands and rehearsals began way back in June.

It was clear their efforts were all worthwhile when Aladdin played to packed houses for five nights in the church hall last week and this must be as close to professional a panto as this amateur church group has pulled off.

We had the usual opening scene familiar to lamp panto lovers with Wishee Washee (Ryan Connell) son of Widow Twanky (Jacqui McArthur) interacting with the kids and the sinister Abanazar (Ian McCreath) making some threats to the principals before kidnapping Aladdin. An inspiring medley was then performed with obscure eighties hit Turning Japanese by the Vapors becoming Turning Pekines, Slow Boat to China then wartime favourite Hang out the Washing were then given the St Meddan’s treatment.

We then had the not unexpected joke at the expense of Brexit. And when Aladdin (Lindsay Connell) tried to determine Abanazar’s punishment at first he suggested he could be an advisor to US President Donald Trump or a member of the UK Brexit negotiating team before settling on being the Widow’s plaything. He pleaded: “Please why could I not try to get Jeremy Corbyn elected?” This was a barrowload of laughs with fine music thrown in.