Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves Pantomime Script by Alan P Frayn

Funny, original, award-winning pantomime scripts
by Alan P Frayn
“I cannot remember using so many superlatives to describe one show” (The Stage)

“Exceptionally inventive – a panto that has everything!” (Amateur Stage Magazine)
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Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves

Full of Eastern promise, this inventive new version brings Ali Baba well and truly into the world of pantomime!

One of the less commonly performed panto titles, this innovative script makes new footsteps in the sand, whilst firmly embracing the spirit of the original Arabian Nights tale.

The riveting storyline, along with heaps of comedy, spectacle and traditional business are sure to enthrall young and old alike.

There are many strong character parts, including Dame Fatima Fandango (a former belly dancer), whilst the Chorus are kept very much involved, having the opportunity for some character acting and rousing numbers as the Thieves.

This exceptionally witty script also includes a very original ultra-violet scene (optional) and has proved itself to be remarkably flexible.  Whilst it has been performed many times in village halls, there’s plenty of scope for the more ambitious to get their teeth into.  One production reached an audience of over 60,000 and had 3 live camels on stage!

Full cast and scenery requirements are listed below

Many productions of this script have won NODA and drama federation “Best Pantomime” awards!

We also offer a “larger cast” version of this script with 3 Hand Maidens to the Princess (small speaking parts), plus another slightly simplified version for schools or youth theatre groups (needing only 2 full stage scenes).  Both these versions also have additional lines for Chorus members.  For a Reading Copy of either of these alternative versions, please select Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves and specify the version you require in the message box on the order form.

"...The show was an imaginative tour de force from beginning to end.  They were still laughing at the quips and chuckles in Alan Frayn's script as they left the theatre.  There was simply no end to the fun.  Absolutely awesome!"  (The Hayling Islander)
ali baba and the forty thieves
Talisman Theatre Co © Peter Weston
ali baba and the forty thieves
Wargrave Theatre Workshop
EXCERPT from Act I Scene 3: A Clearing in the Forest © Alan P Frayn
ALI BABA: Let’s take a breather. What’s that you’ve got in your bag?
MUSTAFA: (Taking out a thermos flask) Oh, Mistress Fatima lent me her thermos flask.
ALI BABA: Hey, that’s great!
MUSTAFA: (Proudly) It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold!
ALI BABA: Yes, I know – and what have you got in it?
MUSTAFA: Hot chicken soup …
ALI BABA: (In anticipation) Mmm!
MUSTAFA: … and a couple of choc-ices!
(ALI BABA reacts in disappointment. Then a chant sung off-stage by the FORTY THIEVES and/or SFX of horses’ hooves are heard.)
ALI BABA: Listen, someone’s approaching.
MUSTAFA: What, out here in the middle of nowhere?
ALI BABA: Quite a gang by the sounds of it.
MUSTAFA: Quick – hide!
  (BOTH run off DSL.)
MUSIC: Number for the Thieves’ Entrance (ASBAD and THIEVES)
  (ASBAD and the THIEVES, consisting of the CHORUS plus BASHIM and GRABBIT, enter SR, or through the auditorium, for a short rousing number.)
ASBAD: Well done, my men – that was a raid to be proud of! And what better way to welcome our two new members, Bashim and Grabbit?
BASHIM: (Approaching Asbad) I think I’m going to enjoy my new job as one of your in-laws!
ASBAD: In-laws? You mean outlaws, stupid! … Oh, I can’t wait until you two are trained robbers.
GRABIT: You mean like Ronnie Biggs?
ASBAD: No – trained robbers, not train robbers!
BASHIM: (Also to Asbad) And by the way, I didn’t see that bacon tree you told us about back there.
ASBAD Bacon tree?
GRABIT: Don’t be daft, Bashim – he said an "ambush", not a "ham bush"!
ASBAD: (Bemused, to audience) Ever heard the saying “As thick as thieves”? These two give it a whole new meaning, don’t they? (To the Thieves:) Now, come on men, bring me all the booty – I can’t wait to show it to the Evil Queen when she arrives.
(The THIEVES start to bring sacks of riches from off-stage SR to outside the cave entrance USL. Thunder SFX as lights change to a sinister state and ALSATIA enters DSL.)
ALSATIA: (Inspecting the loot) My, my, Asbad – we have done well for ourselves, haven’t we?
ASBAD: We do aim to please, your Evilness.
ALSATIA: Well, don’t just stand there gloating – get it stashed away with the rest of our stockpile.
ASBAD: Okay, chum.
ALSATIA: Don’t call me Chum. I’m not a dog’s dinner!
ASBAD: Oh, sorry, Pal! (He sniggers to the audience.)
ALSATIA: That’ll do! Show some respect for my Pedigree!
ASBAD: Yes, of course – when at Crufts, you do tend to “win a lot”! (Aside, to audience:) Winalot!
ALI BABA:  A woodcutter. (Can either be played by male, or female as Principal Boy)
FATIMA FANDANGO:  Pantomime Dame, a former belly dancer. (Obviously, best played by a man)
MARJANA:  Ali Baba’s slave girl, loyal and clever. (Female)
MUSTAFA SCREWLOOSE:  Fatima’s house boy. (Probably male, but could be played by female)
PRINCE HAROUN:  Typical Prince character. (Usually male, but could be played by female)
PRINCESS JASMINE:  The Princess from Cairo, intended future bride of the Prince. (Female)
ASBAD:  The King of Thieves, leader of the Forty Thieves. (Male)
Two scoundrels who are recruited by Asbad.
Typical panto-style comedy twosome. (Either can be male or female)
ALSATIA:  The Evil Queen of the East – immortal canine-themed baddie. (Female)
CATERINA:   The Good Spirit of Arabia – immortal feline-themed fairy. (Female)
SCHEHERAZADE:  Storyteller. (Female)
THE SULTAN:  The Ruler of Old Baghdad. (Male)
THE GRAND VIZIER:  Royal official, Scheherazade’s father. (Male – smaller part)
CHORUS:  Citizens of Old Baghdad (at the start of each Act)
The Thieves (in other scenes)
2 or 3 Female Chorus also play Hand Maidens to the Princess
DANCERS:  Featured in musical numbers as desired. Also play the Spirits of the Cave, the Royal Entourage and perform the optional ultra-violet scene.
Scenes  (Notes on simplified scenery are also included in the script)
Prologue:  Eastern Promise (Front cloth, DS gauze or front of Tabs)
Scene 1 :  The Bazaar in Old Baghdad (Full stage Eastern market place scene, with stalls)
Scene 2 :  Scheherazade’s Tale Unfolds (Front of Tabs or front cloth scene)
Scene 3 :  A Clearing in the Forest (Full stage scene with cave opening)
Scene 4 :  Fatima’s Kitchen (Half-stage scene with front cloth or MS Tabs)
Scene 5 :  [Optional] The Magic of the East (MS black Tabs – UV scene)
Scene 6 :  Within the Secret Cave (Full stage cave interior scene)
Scene 1 :   Back in Old Baghdad (Full stage, as Act I Scene 1, without market stalls)
Scene 2 :  The Fake Sheikh (Front of Tabs or front cloth scene)
Scene 3 :  The Royal Courtyard (Full stage exterior scene. See note below)
Scene 4 :  Later, Outside the Palace (Front of Tabs or front cloth scene)
Scene 5 :  The Banqueting Hall (Full stage interior scene)
Scene 6 :  Mustafa Sing-Song (Front of Tabs)
Scene 7 :  Happy Eastern Endings (Full stage Finale, as Act II Scene 1 or 5)

Note re Staging:

It is possible to avoid one full stage set, playing Act II Scene 3 in the market place, as Act II Scene 1. In this case, just 4 different full stage scenes are required, plus a Kitchen front cloth or a set of mid-stage Tabs. However, for a slightly shorter version of this script needing only 2 full stage sets, please order the “youth version” as described above.

On the other hand, there are plenty of opportunities in this script for the more ambitious, who will have 5 full stage scenes and use front cloths for some or all of the front of Tabs scenes.


“…It is extremely difficult to find a script that will accommodate a cast of over 150 students and we were very fortunate to discover the work of the very talented Alan P Frayn for the first time in 2015.  Alan was extremely generous with his time in customising the existing script for Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves to incorporate a number of additional characters and in helping us to “Australianise” the local references to make sense for our audience here in Tasmania.  Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was an outstanding success and we received fantastic feedback about the production, in particular the quality of the script.”
(Ben Lohrey, Burnie High School, Tasmania)

“…The Fatima Kitchen scene was one of the best comedy sketches I've seen in musical theatre for years!”
The Advocate Newspaper, Tasmania

"...A welcome break from the tired old versions that crop up at least two per story every season. This was a show cram-packed with ideas and jokes, as well as songs, routines and a very strong storyline..."

Fosse Way Magazine


"...As a veteran of many years of pantos in Dereham, I've no doubt this was the best I've seen. The show was packed with energy, sparkle, audience participation, magical special effects and, of course, bucket loads of jokes and puns."

Dereham & Fakenham Times


"...This was just one of some very innovative touches from a very original script (Stage Right Creative Ltd). Comedy there was in plenty and the scenes between Bashim and Grabbit were sheer delight. The same could be said of Fatima – the scenes with these 3 and Mustafa were hilarious!"

NODA Report

St Blazey Amateur Operatic Society

"...Holybourne Theatre Company has been delighting packed houses with a traditional family pantomime. Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves was a triumph of imagination, quick-witted one-liners and fun."

The Alton Herald


"...A new script from Alan Frayn plays down the blood-thirsty elements and with the addition of a comedy Dame and a generous helping of other comedy characters, a creditable panto emerges, which captures the spirit and magical atmosphere of the Far East. This memorable show contains many unforgettable Turkish delights and is chock full of Eastern promise."

Cornish Guardian


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