By Ralph Warburton - 31st January 2014 6:00am
In case you missed it yesterday...
First night of the Famous 5 A's Pantomime season. This year a very special one as the theatrical company celebrate their 20th Birthday — the first 5A production being that of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp.
The bustle as the cast arrives from 18.00 onwards causing a real buzz in the hall — knots of players as all being given their make up- reddened lips, rouged cheeks and eyelids painted for the stage lights.
The whole happening brought together by Peter Webb, Executive Producer, with the true talents of Cheryl Guerin as chief director, Caroline Kirby making all the singing so good and the superb choreography in the dancing by Lynn Brookes. The whole of finances and ticket sales in the capable hands of May Hunter, who is also deeply involved in the making of the costumes. Plus of course by all the back stage crew so vital to get a good show on stage.
The Sound and Lighting desk manned so well by James and Joe, having learned their trade under the guidance of long standing Pantophile, Ken Jones.
The show starts
A cast of 50, ranging in age from 5 to 70 — the youngest cast ever — begin the show with the Good Fairy (Lynn Brookes) on stage as the Story Teller, guiding us through the whole night.
The story line is traditional with the tale of the Big Bad Wolf (Jack Brookes) promising us the "Howling and Booing" from the audience every time he appears on stage — and the multitude of "He's behind you" calls!
Red Riding Hood (Shona Duncan) is in the orphanage where Granny Knot (Helen Katterloher) seeks to take a companion.
The Plot thickens
On the night goes with the plot thickening as we meet the evil Squire (Paul Turner)
The young chorus give us a good bounce as they lift the roof with their dance routine in glittering costumes (Created by Monique Hollinshead — costumier to the West End Stages).
Patches gives very good voice to the fun parts (played by Catherine Maddocks — who as Catherine Hunter is the only one to have played in the show 20 years ago).
Peter (Rhiannon Brookes) in "his" high heeled boots, is the one who seeks the hand of RRH and as we progress from scene to scene, they gradually get to be together in a fabulous finale.
The wolf dispatched, all happiness descends on the villagers and we move to a fabulous finale of glittering red birthday sashes, rousing singing and superb special costumes. A job done. A good job done well. A good job done so happily.
A mass of very happy faces as the final curtain comes down.
...to sum up
One of the very best First Nights I have had the pleasure of witnessing .
AudlemOnline Culture Critic
Monday 25th May
Sunday 24th May
Scout & Guide Hall