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Treasure Island 2024


Producer/ Script

Choreographer/ MD

Review – Sarah Meers – District 6 Representative, NODA East
Feb 2024

What a lovely welcome from all at the Loddon Players on Thursday as we arrived to take a journey back in time to Treasure Island. Everyone was excited for the show to begin, and we were not disappointed.
It is never an easy job to actually write your own show so well done to Steve Burton for producing a fun traditional story and making it come to life for the audience to enjoy.

All the characters each had their part to play to make the story come alive. They worked well together and had a good relationship with each other. The audience participation was a success for all. The Dame (Anthony Bunting) had good comedy timing and a very dry sense of humour, this added to the character to make a difference. Jim (Jane Rainer) achieved the principal girl style and played the part with ease. Abigal (Gemma Buskell) played two roles with a stylish bearing, not easy to sustain being a woman and a man in one story.

The pirate crew (Billy, (Linda Skepelhorn) Clive, (David Bingham) Fred, (Alasdair Skepelhorn) and Ella (Jodie Chapman) intertwined each of their characters together with success along with Carl (Vicki McDicken) who played the cutthroat part with nastiness. Long John Silver (Peter Samain) added a touch of menace to his character. Pilchard Pete (Sam Bailey) had some nice comedy moments appearing with injuries that got worse each time. Other roles Dr Robert Livesey (Adam Kellingray-Williamson) Squire Trelawney (Jeremy Rowe) and Ben Gunn (Jared Bollington) added verve and gusto to their roles in line with the pantomime story.

The chorus and children added to the plot and looked like they were having fun and enjoying themselves, smiling and getting involved.

The direction (Jackie Bingham) was good for a small stage. You could see everyone and positioning was well organised. I really enjoyed the boat scene with ‘goodies and baddies’ travelling in their boats across the stage, this was very funny. I liked the way the auditorium was used in some scenes to create the different levels, giving expansion to the performance area. The choreography (Vicky Codling) was appropriate for the show. The dance school (Funky Feet) added some distinctive style to the setting. The musical Director (Alan Cant) created some good choice of songs which completed the telling of the story. Everyone sang with gusto. I really enjoyed the good old-fashioned sing a long “A sailor’s life for me”.

The costumes were very traditional and were ideal for the show, maybe an addition of a little colour here and there, as it was panto. More accessories could have helped to create this. I was very impressed with the nautical costume the Dame wore at the end, using an old-fashioned boat for a hat. Well done for keeping that on your head.

The scenery was effective for the show, a lot of hard work went into making it and again, for the size of the stage, worked well to create the right atmosphere. The props were very in-keeping with the plot, not an excess of lighting but enough to keep the mood alive.

I really enjoyed the little moments/touches throughout the production, the black spot gag running through the show, very funny and pirates appearing and disappearing in the “That’s What I Want number, perfect timing creating the right atmosphere. I thought the jokes were clever and kept to the theme – impressive. Giving gold coins to all the children in the audience was a lovely touch.

Thank you for all the fun and laughs Loddon Players, a great evening’s entertainment.

Review – Terry Reeve – Beccles & Bungay Journal – Jan 2024*

Swashbuckling panto is a chest load of fun.

Once again, Loddon Players have produced a pantomime which entertains and uplifts their audience.

From the opening Oompahpah routine, to the final curtain, here is a show full of colour, fun, and humour. And it all moves along at a good pace throughout.

It’s Is full of double-entendres, part and parcel of good pantomime, and producer and writer, Steve Burton has written into it great one liners, corny and punny, which always raise a laugh, or sometimes a groan!

In fact, three characters are written into the script just to deliver such humour.

Several new faces have been introduced this year to add freshness, and they are ably led by Players stalwart Anthony Bunting, once again in the pivotal Dame role as Hetty Hawkins.

Alongside him is relative newcomer, but clearly experienced Jane Rainer as her son, Jim, nimble of movement, and with great expression and singing.

As Abigail Trelawney, newcomer, Gemma Buskell, fills that role well and has good rapport with Jim,  in a cast full of great, well-drawn characters with dastardly pirates, led by Peter Samain as Long John Silver.

His gang included Vicki McDicken as the bloodthirsty Carl “The Cutthroat” Edwards, itching for a chance to use his cutlass. David Bingham as Clive “The Cutlass” Jones, Alasdair Skepelhorn, as Fred “The Finker” Smith, and Jody Chapman as Ella “The Edgy” Sparrow, who make up a fearsome (usually) team.

Adam Kellingray-Williamson is well cast as the studious Dr. Robert Livesey, Jeremy Rowe is Squire Trelawney, Dawn Cartwright is Dotty, Sam Bailey is Pilchard Pete and Billy The Butcher Bones is played with menace and for big laughs by Linda Skepelhorn. While young Jared Bollington has a lovely cameo roll as Ben Gunn.

As always, the Funky Feet dancers, coached and choreographed by Vicky Codling bring another dimension to the evening with their slick and lively routines in this vibrant community show directed by Jackie Bingham with Alan Cant as Musical Director.

Great costumes, great sets, great fun.

*minor edits by Loddon Players for cast accuracy