Basingstoke Amateur Dramatic Society’s production of Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves was in jeopardy last night after a Health and Safety official attended a dress rehearsal. Along with several breaches of the latest legal and regulatory requirements, the auditor was very concerned about the scene where Ali Baba rides on a magic carpet while singing “Walking In The Air.” It is understood that the magic carpet may need to be cut from the production unless it can be fitted with handrails.
Mr Julian Taylor, the Dramatic Society’s Director/Producer/Stage Manager/Choreographer/Pianist, explained that budget constraints had meant that the flying carpet scene actually comprised Mrs Penelope Jenkinson’s hearth rug draped over a wooden pallet, while the sensation of flight was suggested by Ali Baba donning a Biggles-style pilot’s helmet and goggles. But he pointed out that the rug was securely fixed to the pallet to remove the slip hazard, and that Safe Working At Height certification was in place, even though the actual height of the installation above the stage was less than four inches.
Undeterred by the results of the audit, Mr Taylor insists that he will personally deal with the Health and Safety issues and, in line with theatre tradition, the show must go on. He insisted, “We will open, says me.”