This used the traditional panto format well. Well-cast and well-written, it was a romp with all the elements firmly in place. Great use of puns and gags throughout engaged an appreciative and participative audience, ending with dancing in the seats. This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all including the cast who displayed their versatility, working well as an ensemble and clearly had fun. This was a gem.
The production also introduced us to four debutants who all performed well; in fact it was not at all evident that they were new to performing, a testament to the group’s ability to find and develop new talent.
Paul Johnson’s direction was clever and innovative, making maximum use of the stage and the actors, which resulted in a pacey and lively show. This was supported by the choreography of Mark Stannett and Catherine Fox-Kirk, which injected excellent dance and movement throughout.
Given the constraints of a small stage coupled with lots of performers the stage management was flawless. Entrances and exits worked seamlessly and props were all to hand. You realized a lot of activity took place behind the scenes to give the panto its overall impact.
Good acoustics used well throughout.
The basic lighting rig was used well giving atmosphere and tone to the performance. I particularly liked the moment where through clever lighting a body double was inserted on stage such that it allowed Dick to apparently be in two places at once.
Given we had 8 scenes the set was both practical and versatile good use of screens and the curtain to help move the plot on.
There were a variety of props which were well used which fitted seamlessly into the action. Again this was a facet of good stage management.
The costumes were both well designed and in keeping with the panto theme. The cat costume complete with knee pads worked extremely well. The OTT aspects of the Dame’s costume again contributed to the performance.
This was an informative and comprehensive programme which ticked all the boxes in terms of both information and background. The style was also in keeping with the pantomime feel.
Front of House
The front of house team were welcoming and effective making sure every member of the audience had whatever help they needed.