Review – Terry Reeve – Beccles and Bungay Journal – Jan 2008
Town pantomime fun is pure gold
The Loddon pantomime tradition has been going for 31 years now, and judging from this latest show it is still alive and well and as vibrant as ever.
There is a lot of sparkle, a lot of colour and a lot of talent to be seen as the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the bid to catch a baby bear to take part in an ailing circus unfolds.
The familiar faces in the cast, the local quips and the local dancers are all part of what a good pantomime is all about, and those qualities are there for all to see.
The dancers from the Funky Feet school of Dance and Performing Arts are clearly well trained and well rehearsed, and their exuberance shines through.
The experience of long-standing members of the players, such as Maureen Larkin, who has been involved from the start, and Anthony Bunting, who has had the Dame role for a few years, ensures that the pantomime is always under control and the ad-libbing is spontaneous and relevant.
Maureen looks and acts suitably dishevelled and disorganised as Daisy, the Girl Guide leader recruited by the Dame, Clara Clump, as a new leader. Daisy brings the lugubrious Frank with her – young Matthew Moore puts in an uninhibited performance, full of expression in that row and could become a mainstay of future pantomimes.
Georgia Hothersall is Goldilocks and does the role credit in every way. Lizzie Burgess is also confident and lithe as the Ringmaster, and Graham Orpet and Luke Jermy as the baddies, Grabbam and Snatch, work well together, with Graham putting in a particularly impressive George Formby impression on the ukulele.
It was good to see a lot made of the three bears involvement in the story, with Ian Fulcher and Gina Buntrock as Father and Mother Bear both giving good performances, and Alice Purling as Baby Bear also acting well. Her solo in a well-lit cage scene was the highlight of Saturday evenings show.
There is plenty of energy expended throughout the evening, particularly by Tom Olive, Alice Bush and Mike Catling as circus strongman, acrobat and juggler. Those three also appeared as other bears, along with Steve Burton, Emily Buchan and Linda Mower.
A team of 15 dancers is involved in the production, with teams of five taking part each night. For some performances Laura Cox is the Ringmaster, Megan Miller – Goldilocks and Emmeline Bryce – Baby Bear.
Beryl Carver is musical accompanist, an invaluable role she has filled for all 31 shows- but this is her swansong. She retires at the end of the final performance.
Once again, Loddon has produced a family show with a good balance of youth and experience, directed by Anthony Bunting – whose finale Dame costume is as good as you will see anywhere – and produced by Steve Burton, with Joan Evans providing the script.
Sets and costumes are all impressive in a thoroughly entertaining show. It is also on tonight and tomorrow evening and next Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, at 7:30 PM with 2:30 PM matinees tomorrow and next Saturday.