Genie-ous decision: long-running Aladdin pantomime abruptly axed because of 'cultural insensitivity'

20 November 2022, 11:27

Ansty has cancelled its production of Aladdin
Ansty has cancelled its production of Aladdin. Picture: Google/Getty

By Kit Heren

A pantomime that has been running for more than four decades has been cancelled this year because of "cultural sensitivity" concerns.

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The Aladdin show in the Dorset village of Ansty was pulled from the schedule at the last minute, upsetting members of the cast and crew, as well as locals looking forward to the performance.

The production was cancelled because the director deemed the punning names of the Chinese laundrette workers - Wishy Washy and Chop Chop, "insensitive" to people from that country or cultural background, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Locals have been left fuming by the abrupt cancellation of the show, which was announced by director Jenny Norman.

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"I am totally disgusted that the pantomime has been cancelled," said Brian Hepworth, 87, whose wife was taking part in the production.

"It is terrible that this country is being brought to its knees with nonsense like this," he added.

The pantomime usually raises hundreds of pounds for groups including bowel cancer charity Ducks & Drakes, Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance and a maintenance fund for the village hall.

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Mr Hepworth added: "The money raised from the pantomime helps to keep the village hall in good nick. Now that the show has been cancelled, the hall will face a big loss."

Vicki Lovegrove-Fray, 47, said: "I was planning on taking my five-year-old son to the pantomime but now we can’t go – it is such a shame that the play has been cancelled."

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Director Ms Norman said: "It is with regret that Madcap [Productions] has found it necessary to cancel this year’s production of Aladdin following expressions of unease about cultural insensitivity that were made to the cast." 

The pantomime was to include local children in the cast, who began auditioning two months ago.

Mother Katie Hill said it was frustrating that the pantomime had been axed at such short notice.

She said: "It is a very difficult conversation to have with a seven-year-old who has overcome so many challenges to learn their lines!"

Tickets have been refunded.