Review – T Rymer NODA – Jan 2013
A small intimate venue and an enthusiastic audience of local people who know most of the cast! Oh yes they do…and that is a recipe for more ad libs and asides than I have had hot dinners !
Who better then, than the ubiquitous Graham Orpet, this year ‘promoted’ to Dame Gertie, to head the cast, and how he revelled in this role (Should give Anthony B, having a year off, a run for his money next year!) He was great and the audience loved him and his little ‘insider’ jokes ! He even played his ukulele (Just for me ?) Could sell tickets for the auditions next year! I love this archetypal local village panto and with a story not often told.
In a larger part than usual we had Rose (Maureen Larkin) irrepressible as ever and the perfect foil for Gertie.
To introduce things the young Fairy Nuff, (shared by Emily Johnston/Lucy Bown) both offering a confident and engaging prologue of good versus evil; which came in the guise of Rumplestilskin (Tony Bown) who clearly had got into the part with immaculate costume and effective make up and a manner to match as he delivered his dreaded ultimatum. We needed no encouragement to boo and hiss his every entrance and revelled in his eventual come upance.
We had a range of great supporting roles with each one adding their little touches to the story.
The soldiers under the command of Major Holdup (Ian Fulcher), who was to the manner born; aided an abetted and sometimes hindered by Corporal Punishment ( Christian Lovick), Private Parts (Rosey Kipps), Private Eye (Elizabeth Chapman) and the ‘dopey’ Private Practice (Ben Walter) were always amusing.
The Millers daughter who became Queen (Caroline Bown) was convincingly duped by Rumplestiltskin as she cleverly spun her flax into golden thread; and Alice (Alice Bush) was suitably unaware of her fate as her birthday approached and showed good anxiety as her friends attempted to discover the name that would save her.
Bessie (Pauline Mason), Miss Muffet (Emmeline Bryce), Boy Blue (Brian Vincent), Mary (Rebecca Walter), Matilda ( Rebecca Wicks), and Arthur (Shula Howard) all offered a valuable contribution to this tale which was well scripted and followed the story as I remembered from my childhood with enough humour and business to keep the audience well engaged.
Jack and Jill (Janna Sapey, Lauren Sterling) as Goblins One and Two were well depicted and excellent dancing support as always by the talented Funky Feet Dancers who seem to improve year on year with some creative choreography.
Some parts were doubled up King Cole (Jonathan Mayfield/Martin Sutton and Miller (Steve Burton/Martin Sutton) both were well cast.
Live accompaniment throughout always enhances a panto and this worked well plus some tracks for more upbeat numbers.
There is a large team of named ‘behind scenes’ helpers and supporters all of whom can feel proud of their ‘local’ panto.
I know they do more shows than most other Societies (albeit at a small venue) but I am sure the tickets were well in demand as it is an enjoyable and joyous night of live entertainment.