An Aladdin's Cave of delights at The Q

The Queanbeyan Players' production of Kismet opens at The Q Performing Arts Centre on Friday, June 6.

The Queanbeyan Players' production of Kismet opens at The Q Performing Arts Centre on Friday, June 6.

FROM dancing Harem girls, to a bedraggled street poet, to the rich court of the Caliph, The Q will be transformed into an Aladdin's Cave of delights as the Queanbeyan Players roll out their latest production, Kismet.

This classic, middle eastern-themed musical may seem like a centuries-old tale, but it originates from that classic period of American musicals, the mid 1950s.

Director and Queanbeyan Players president Peter Smith is currently putting the 40-strong cast through rehearsal ahead of a June opening, and told The Queanbeyan Age the show would delight lovers of classic musicals.

"People sometimes relate it to the Arabian Nights, but the Arabian Nights were a bit more medieval and vicious.

"It's actually a comedy about a guy who's a bit of a street poet who - by luck - takes over a beggar's spot on the stairs of the mosque and gets dragged off by a bandit who thinks he's put a curse on him.

"And then he gets into the Wazir's court and the Wazir becomes convinced that he's got magic powers, and he sort of exploits it. It's a bit of a rags-to-riches of this guy who's got his eye on the main chance and risks everything to gain," Mr Smith said.

Kismet is also a Tony-winning musical with a number of hit songs recorded by artists of the calibre of Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee. Mr Smith said its 1954 Tony award for best musical put it in good company with some of the all-time classics.

"I was looking at the other Tony winners bracketing it on either side, and you have names like South Pacific, Sound of Music and Guys and Dolls. It was really the golden era for American musicals," he said.

The show features a large cast led by the opera-trained lead Don Bemrose in the role of the poet, and is backed by a 25-piece orchestra.

Mr Smith has previously assisted the Queanbeyan Players in directorial support roles, and said he was enjoying shaping the production his first major solo directorial role/

"It's very rewarding, but there's always that nervousness just before everything all comes together," he said.

"And it's a big community group with a lot of support, so there's a lot of people who are always up to coming and doing a bit of painting or building and keep the society going.

"There are a few companies that do musicals in the Canberra region, but we're sticking to the classics with the occasional very modern show. There's a lot of wonderful shows out there, and Kismet is certainly a classic," he said.

- Kismet opens at The Q Performing Arts Centre, Queanbeyan on Friday June 6 and plays through to Saturday, June 21. Tickets available online at or by phoning the box office on 6285 6290.

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