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Review – Terry Reeve – Beccles & Bungay Journal – Jan 2000
Millennium panto packed with laughs
Derek Loyd and Maureen Larkin are old favourites with Loddon pantomime enthusiasts – Derek was in the first cast 25 years ago and was joined by Maureen in the next, and they know just what makes people laugh.
This year they have been reunited, Derek as a guest, as the group enters a new Millennium and they showed they have lost none of their sparkle and timing as they had the audience in stitches in this Panto 2000 production.
The players brought together four favourite pantos – Cinderella Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, and Robinson Crusoe – linking them smoothly to produce a composite show which had plenty of colour, plenty of music and song, and many, many laughs.
One of the funniest sketches on Saturday night was undoubtedly the woodland scene where 73 year old Loyd, as forest warden Clump, was trying to teach rookies Larkin and Melvin Frankland about woodland ways and species.
But there were many other highlights and hilarious episodes in this show and it was certainly an all round team effort, with many others involved.
Anthony Bunting vamps it up well as the Dame, Widow Twankey, and Steve Burton, a bank manager by day, puts in regular appearances as bobo the gorilla. Jenny Futter, who conceived the Panto 2000 idea is Fairy Good.
Many others take on several roles with confidence, among them Jackie Bingham, Emma Burton, Mike Catling, Amy Combe, Melvin Frankland, Tia Ireland, Mike Johnson, Ray Lumley, and Adam Taylor.
Widow Twankey, Aladdin (Ellen Turner) and the Genie (Rosie Kipps) are the common theme throughout the pantomime, in which enjoyably we meet Girl Friday, Dandini, Wolf, the Duchess, Prince Charming, Mother Goose, Blackbeard and Abanazar all in one highly entertaining show.
Director and producer Ann Turner deserves praise for her efforts, as do accompanist Beryl Carver and choreographer Joan Gisborne.
Everyone who saw the show will hope Loddon Players are here at least as long in this Millennium as they were in the last century. Panto 2000 is also on this evening, and tomorrow, when there are two performances, and there are four more performances next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.