Written by Ian Lumsden (Saturday afternoon performance)
I think there are 3 things that make a great panto: the time of year, audience participation and fun, and Act 1 Theatre Group certainly managed to create a great panto!
The cast which consisted of young children to the more mature ladies & gents were having a great time and it was delightful to see them enjoying themselves so much. Everyone played their parts well, clearly all those hours of rehearsal paid off which meant we were kept wanting more so as not to miss a thing. The audience for their part got involved and there was plenty of laughter and shouting at the stage (‘he's behind you’) - and it wasn't just the kids shouting either.
Louise Adams took the title role, playing the Princess with grace and poise. Nikita Beales was a charming Prince who slapped her thigh well. The two worked well together and were a pleasure to watch. Caroline Pankhurst had the audience in the palm of her hands with her subtle comedy and raised eyebrow, the Evil Queen’s psychotic side was a welcome change to the norm. Andrea Knight also had great stage presence as the perfectly pink Good Fairy. The pair worked well opposite each other and impressed the audience with their vocals. The Seven Dwarfs all acted their individual characters well and worked as a cohesive unit, it was evident all performers enjoyed working closely with each other. One stand out that much receive a mention was the little green dwarf, Tyler Hayton. Even though half the age and size of most his companions on stage he blew the audience away with his clear diction and cute face! Richard Adams as Dame Molly helped carry the show with his great accent and flamboyant nature. He along with his adorable sidekick, Molly’s Minnie (Kayla Armer) were a joy to watch and had the audience participating throughout. Beckie Friday as Molly’s dimwit daughter Silly Sally engaged with the audience from the moment she arrived on the stage, her comedy timing, fantastic characterisation and infectious smile made her a pleasure to watch, especially how much she enjoyed covering ‘Dave’ with cooking ingredients.
Emily Cook clearly worked her dancers hard, who all performed to a high standard and looked beautiful on stage. The costumes, dance and performance throughout ‘I Put a Spell on You’ was a standout moment, well done. The ensemble of children and teens were clearly all enjoying themselves. The smiles on the little ones faces were infectious.
The stage props were really well thought about and everything worked perfectly, congrats to the stage manager. The show programme and colourful costumes were all of an extremely high standard (I was almost jealous of some of Dame Molly’s frocks), which added to the overall great experience.
All the hard work and commitment was evident in all performers, crew and director who produced a winner of a show, I simply can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year!