THE sumptuous costumes of the exotic east came to the stage of Forum 28 almost 20 years ago as Walney Amateurs presented the lavish musical Kismet.

The Mail, on Tuesday, November 18 in 1999, noted: "Walney Amateurs have assembled a real goody-bag of a cast to present Kismet.

"There is much too enjoy in this production, including a brilliant story, as the clever twists and turns of fate set Hajj the poet on a merry-go-round of adventures and an awful lot of laughs from a slightly tongue-in-cheek script.

"Russell Palmer is ideally cast as Hajj the warm hearted, affectionate father and Eileen Lithgow is a lively, captivating Marsinah, his daughter.

"Iain Nicholson as the Caliph is a touching young lover and the songs featuring Iain and Eileen are pure joy, especially Stranger in Paradise.

"Those who go to shows for the singing are safe with a Kismet ticket.

"Julie Lloyd plays Lalume strictly for laughs and generates plenty of them, while David Marcus makes a likeable rogue of the evil Wazir.

"There is lots of excellent support, including three wonderfully stroppy Princesses of Ababu, a touching Jawan, master brigand from Bill Calvert and plenty of funny lines well delivered from John Twyford as Omar Khayyam.

"Pauline Barnees is impressive as the marriage arranger and Sam Strange with his beautiful singing starts proceedings in fine style as the Imam of the mosque.

"It is a difficult show with a dozen different scenes but the opening night went almost smoothly with some lovely sets and sumptuous costumes."

The lyrics and musical adaptation of Kismet was by Robert Wright and George Forrest.

The music is drawn from pieces composed by Alexander Borodin and the story is based on the 1911 play by Edward Knoblock about a wily poet who talks his way out of trouble several times.

His beautiful daughter meets and falls in love with a young caliph.

The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony Award for best musical in 1954.

It was also successful in London's West End and has been given several revivals.

A 1955 film version was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.