The Loddon Players - Jack and the Beanstalk, Loddon Church Lecture Hall - 23rd January 2015
Director/Producer(writer), Jackie Bingham/ Steve Burton; MD Alan Cant; Choreographer, Vicky Codling
All is well - Graham Orpet as Dame Mabel Trott has rediscovered his ukulele !
Pantomime has him to thank for a real marathon role performance as he seemed to never leave the stage. He has taken over the hard to follow mantel as resident Dame, and his natural style and effervescent banter endears him to the audiences.
Each entrance adorned with some outrageous costumes culminating in a finale hat to outdo Ascot and outfit to match.
He was the mainstay of this well delivered panto. Some of his best moments seem to be unscripted - it's a skill to be exploited! He was great.
Of course his "partner in crime", Violet (Maureen Larkin) was her irrepressible self and equally on form with her witty repartee and Norfolk dialect.
We had a quality Principle Boy (Elizabeth Chapman) as Jack Trott, who had great style and voice and only lacked a few thigh slaps to make it a complete role performance.
We were keen to boo and hiss baddy Demonica (Caroline Bown) who did her best to harangue the audience whilst Mystic Meg (Gwendoline Walker) predicted a "happy ending", and she was right, Fairy Liquid (Rebekah Wick) showed good can prevail as she waved her "lollipop"(or was it a gobstopper?) wand with style and to good effect.
En route we had loads of fun from the hard working pair Diddly and Squat (Christian Lovick and Shula Howard) plus timely safety first pc interventions from Archibald Dimwinkle - great name!( Ian Fulcher) and son Tim D (role shared by, Harvey Wick, Harry Browne, Daniel Turner, Oliver Walter) so irritating - so true!!
Plus a special mention for "real" PC Goodfellow - he of silly walks - a real eye catching "evening all" performance.
All the sympathy was for Daisy the Cow with some good moooves, and "old" but necessary, and still funny, milk delivery jokes!
We of course had love interest for Jack from Anna (Molly Rose) suitably enticing but with the awkward relationship of disapproving parents Baron Hardheart (Martyn Sutton), could have been from meet the Bailiffs..(he needed a hat) and equally peevish Cruella ( Gina Buntrock)?cue the magic Beanstalk with good effects?
Now up the Beanstalk at the long awaited Giants Castle we still had to wait for the key character as his entourage and long suffering Mrs Blunderbore (Judith Gray) set the scene for his entrance? at last?enter Giant Blunderbore ((Tony Bown).. BUT, despite his awesome threats and booming voice - we actually quite liked him!
His lilting Welsh accent and seemingly jovial smile were at odds with his reputation -it was a great costume - but we did feel a trifle sad at his demise! Hey Ho, perhaps he needs a new PR team!
As ever, add to the mix the well drilled performances from the Funky Feet Dancers, Seniors, Juniors and especially Infants (they are the future!).
Great movement to modern tracks and some spectacular montages on such a small stage - terrific stuff!
All this plus many other cameo roles from Villagers, Spiders , Demons, and more, gave us an excellent evenings entertainment - if a trifle long, especially Act 1 (9.15), leading to a rather rushed Act 2 and finale.
A panto needs to be done and dusted by 10pm (also kids rules).
There were very few musical numbers this year and some dialogue could be, shall we say, edited! Sometimes less is more!
None the less with 14 almost "sell out" performances there will be no shortage of audiences for this highlight of New Years? local entertainment - long may it continue!
Well done to all involved, on and off stage (and there were many!) Same time next year!
Review by Terry Rymer (NODA Representative East Dist. 6)