Deputy Stage Manager
Blunderbuss the Giant
Daisy the Cow
Flo Rice & Jo Turley (and the voice of Glynn Webster)
Dancers (all shows)
Hannah Switzer, Olivia Cave, Rosie Boulton-Roberts, Elisha Webster, Poppy Falzon
Adult Chorus (all shows)
Under 16's (5 shows each)
See table below.
|TEAM A||TEAM B|
|Friday 22nd December - Tech||6pm ON STAGE START|
|Saturday 23rd December - Dress||7pm ON STAGE START|
|Wednesday 27th December||2:30pm|
|Wednesday 27th December|| ||7pm|
|Thursday 28th December|| ||2:30pm|
|Thursday 28th December||7pm|| |
|Friday 29th December||2:30pm|| |
|Friday 29th December|| ||7pm|
|Saturday 30th December|| ||2:30pm|
|Saturday 30th December||7pm|| |
|Sunday 31st December||2:30pm|| |
|Monday 1st January|| ||2:30pm|
|Lily Milford||Tia Black|
|Naomi Cooper||Maya Bickham|
|Finn Vowles||Olly Shakesby|
|Joe Lythaby||Dougal Bradwell|
|Hetta Falzon||Molly Spraggon|
|Lola Punchard||Matilda Maisey|
|Tatiana Turley||Mabel Maisey|
|Molly Cook||Lily Norris|
|Francesca Guidi||Scarlett Hodge|
|Charlotte Eastmead Hoare||Elizabeth England|
|Fern Dobbins||Marcey Bickham|
|Mary Boulton Roberts||Mimi Shaw|
|Georgia Pescod||Lola Edwards|
|Tyler Wilson||Hollie Marsh|
|Erin Hagg||Emily Power|
|Lousie Osmond||Sapphira Stoodley|
|Olivia Adey Peters||Erin Webster|
Fine Times Review
HOW do you refresh one of the best-known and oldest of all pantomime stories while still sticking closely to the traditional tale? Matthew Maisey, back once again as the writer and director of Street’s panto at Strode Theatre, has plenty of ace ideas up his sleeve.
For the audience at the first performance, one of the favourites was a clever rap duet, Paradise, between the delightful Fairy Grapevine (Lydia Lakin) and the evil Fleshcreep (Dave Bonser), henchman to the horrible Giant Blunderbuss.
The King (Matt Turner), round and jolly with a weakness for milky puddings, has witty support from the Prime Minister, Lord Crusty (Glynn Webster), who has enough droll asides to keep the adults laughing, while Simple Simon (Matt Turner Jr) keeps the kids laughing with his pratfalls and silliness.
Justin Hodge has an amazing succession of over the top wigs and colourful frocks as Dame Deirdre Trott, and the love interest is the sparky duo of our hero Jack (Toby Turley) and Princess Violet (Niamh Small)
Jo Turley and Flo Rice were a delight as Daisy the Cow, given much more to do than the usual kicking over the bucket and tugging at our heart-strings as foolish Jack parts with her for a bag of beans to the disguised Fleshcreep. She’s quite the hero helping her friends to escape from the giant’s castle.
You’ve probably read plenty of reports about parents objecting to “smutty jokes” in some of the lavish (and expensive) big pantos this year – rest assured, Matthew Maisey’s script has nothing to shock even the most sensitive of maiden aunts – but there is plenty to laugh and boo at.
Along with some good visual and verbal jokes (one of my favourites was the Jack and Jill routine with Fleshcreep) he also has some clever word play – watch out for the IQ-haiku joke, which goes a bit over the kids’ heads but sparked some laughs in the balcony.
As always with Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society, you are guaranteed some great singing and acting and excellent dancing – outstanding sequences were the leaf fairies around the beanstalk and Fleshcreep’s sinister slaves in Cloudland.
It’s a cracking show – handsome principal boy, who sings and dances well, pretty heroine, dotty dame, genuinely funny comics and a villain who all but steals the show. You really should bag these beans – the show runs to New Year’s Day, Monday 1st January.
Email From: Nick Lawrence (29/12/2017)
Many thanks for your kind invitation to see the Panto last night and for arranging for such generous hospitality. Jack & I had a very good time.
We both enjoyed the show very much. It was most entertaining. As expected the singing and dancing were of a high standard and the delivery of the dialogue was excellent with clear diction and good comic timing.
Many congratulations to everyone involved. One of the best.
Nick Lawrence, National Operatic and Dramatic Association, President 2017-2018
The script, written and directed by Matthew Maisey, contained all the ingredients that you would expect from this very well-known pantomime. What really shone through for me was the standard of acting and singing from all principals. Their training in vocal technique certainly paid off thanks to the talents of tutor Laura Lewis.
In terms of direction the show contained many contemporary allusions. Pace was excellent throughout and crowd reaction impeccable. This was certainly a resplendent show and all principals, dancers, chorus and junior chorus (Team B) held the production together with flair.
Although your adjudication report will provide an in-depth account of all characters, I would personally like to mention a few who really caught my eye.
Without comedy, pantomime cannot flourish. The best shows are those productions where humour is delivered with confidence. Matt Wilson’s Simple Simon was first class. From the moment you appeared, you commanded our attention. Your energy flooded the stage, you had all the right qualities as a linkman and your delivery was perfect.
Dave Bonser’s Fleshcreep gave a terrific performance. You had excellent physicality and evil precision. Your strong relationship with an audience full of children was well established and you marked the nature of this character with a distinctive vocal tone. An accomplished piece of theatre!
Niamh Small’s Princess Violet gave us a strong and sweet portrayal that certainly fitted the genre. Violet’s Lament was a memorable highlight for me. A sound performance.
Using sets from Scenery Hire Ltd and Little Shop of Hires was an excellent choice. The scenery made the show what it was and changes were smoothly undertaken, swiftly and silently throughout.
A wonderful array of colourful costumes were provided by Triple C’s Costume. However, I would liked to have seen more outrageous and over the top dresses worm by Dame Deirdre. A hoop and padding certainly would have enhanced this character.
Lighting and special effects were created well. I enjoyed the growth of the beanstalk. The litter falling out of the bin added to this ‘magical moment’
While we could certainly hear the giant – although a little distorted on occasions – it was a pity we were not treated to any brief sightings of him – or at least parts of his anatomy!
Just a thought – as a magical entertainer for over 40 years I am aware that many young children actually believe in magic, as they do Santa. Seeing cast in costume ‘ out of character’ after a show destroys the magic and fantasy of pantomime immediately. I have always strongly advised players to keep their distance from the audience to protect the theatrical mystery. While it is natural for some of us to want to meet the cast, it is best if this happens backstage. [G&SMCS comment to readers: The post panto line-up is a society tradition and is not specific to this show]
This was an excellent production that I enjoyed from beginning to end. The audience were with you all the way and I would personally like to applaud you for an entertaining spectacle.
Strode Theatre Tripadvisor - Audience Comment (03/01/2018)
I took my grandchildren to see Jack and the Beanstalk. We all loved it - brilliant performance, great audience, and the cast were in the foyer afterwards for photos. That was the icing on the cake for the little ones :)
Cinderella Trophy (Adjudicator) Review
Thank you for a warm welcome to the Strode Theatre on a cold December afternoon. I was accompanied by John Robinson, who is in the process of being inducted as a new adjudicator. It has been a few years since I have been to pantomime at the Strode Theatre and I was very much looking forward to it. It was a joy to see the foyer filling up with children as we waited for the auditorium doors to open. The sense of anticipation was palpable and there was a buzz of excitement. It augured well. I have to say that the timing of your show, just after Christmas, is perfect for the youngsters, eager to get out after the excesses of Christmas. I am acutely aware, however, that it needs huge dedication and commitment from the whole team - both onstage and off - to make it happen. And, more than that, it needs great understanding from their families as the commitment to the panto inevitably impacts on family Christmas arrangements. I imagine the technical team and the stage crew were working their socks off to have everything ready for the technical rehearsal and then ultimately for the opening show. So I take my hat off to you all. That is true dedication indeed. Well done everyone.
From the off it was clear we were in for a treat. A strong opening number set the scene for a fast-paced and well-rehearsed show. What we had was traditional family pantomime fare – nothing you couldn’t take your four-year-old or your gran to see (excepting, perhaps, the American reference to the bum bag)! Which is wonderful!
A good pantomime starts with a good script and the show was both written and directed by Matthew Maisey. The first act rattled along at a tremendous rate but by comparison I thought Act 2 was raggedy and overlong (indeed, you could have done with shaving 30 minutes off the overall running time). There were large gaps between some of the scenes - which may well have been down to the fact that this was the opening show and all the issues had not been ironed out. I couldn’t help thinking, however, that with a little judicious planning the second half could have been just as slick as the first. I also thought there was a dearth of belly laughs. There were plenty of gags but some of them were a little too clever for their own good! Simple Simon, is quintessentially the dopey one. So for him to suddenly spout forth with a Haiku just so you could introduce a pun with Haiku and IQ, seemed to me to be overly forced. More to the point, it misses the essence of good panto humour, which should be quick-fire and easy to pick up. Such is the pace of panto that if we miss a gag we are already on to the next one. I thought some of the script was very clever and amusing – particularly those occasions when misunderstanding was rife (a device you used several times) and overall the gags were OK but I felt that an injection of really good panto gags would have transformed this script from a good one to a great one.
Still, this was a show performed with great confidence and aplomb. It was well rehearsed and you made good use of all the available space. There was plenty of audience interaction and a good balance between visual humour and spoken gags and between musical numbers and dialogue. All good stuff.
Inevitably, it is my job to point out areas where I think it could have been improved, so here are one or two pointers. I thought it was a mistake to break up the string gag with a song. It made it seem very long-drawn out. And I also thought splitting the ghost scene into two pairs was a mistake. On the same subject, the ‘ghosts’, despite their masks, were simply not terrifying enough so the ghost scene fell a little flat. But having said all that, the storyline was suitably simple and the plot moved along at quite a lick. There was also plenty of opportunity to introduce those time-honoured panto traditions. Slapstick, ghost scenes, audience participation, and the struggle between good and bad were all there, which is exactly as it should be. You didn’t have any ‘brokers men’ characters, which is a shame because they often introduce a whole different level of humour that the kids usually enjoy. And I felt the slapstick needed to be further developed. It’s not good enough just to ‘pie’ somebody. A good pie in the face is an art form in itself, with a slow build up, audience interaction and anticipation and a final flourish (perhaps with an unexpected twist) as pie hits face! I felt it was all over in a jiffy and that so much more fun could have been had. Similarly, I think a bit more work could have gone into the house number. I loved your idea of the ‘Golden Tickets’ to limit the numbers on stage, but it seemed to me to be under-rehearsed. I know it’s difficult to rehearse when you haven’t got kids and an audience but all the more reason for meticulous planning. As it was, when one side was meant to be singing we actually had both sides being encouraged to sing along and the two principals were unclear about how the interviews would be conducted. I also thought it was a shame Simple Simon came out in his finale costume. The whole point of the house number is to give people time to change into their splendid finale outfits and it kind of spoils the magic when we get a sneak preview! Something else that is difficult to rehearse without an audience is the pause that is needed for the laughs. I know it was the first time in front of a real audience but even so, too often the cast was speaking over the laughter so we lost the lines. You see? I told you that even in a great show I could find areas for improvement!
In truth, on the whole I thought the structure and pacing of the show were good. You made great use of the stage and there were some fine stage ‘pictures’. Your players were well rehearsed and diction of those on stage was consistently good. There was plenty of audience interaction and, despite the size of the theatre, you were able to create a sense of involvement that was admirable. Because of the balcony you are not able to use the auditorium for any of the action (it would be unseen from above), which is something you clearly were aware of and handled well. It was interesting to see so many males in the cast - sometimes societies find it hard to get a full quota of men. You even had the principal boy played by a male! And why not? It is increasingly the norm in professional panto and I thought it worked very well indeed. Indeed, the whole show was well cast and I think all the performers did you proud – there were no weak links. Possibly work on stronger entrances and exits to really gain maximum effect, but otherwise, smashing!
Stage and Technical Management
You have a great stage at Strode and you used it to full effect with flying front cloths and great backdrops. Given all those advantages, it is a shame that one or two of the scene changes were overly long. First show hiccups? Perhaps. But we really should be moving completely seamlessly from one scene to the next with no gaps. You introduced some nice set features such as the prison bars and the entrance to the cottage with its practical door. And I loved the Giant’s seat and table his lair. The piece de resistance was, of course, the beanstalk itself leading to a suitably dramatic ending to Act 1. I wasn’t so sure about the effect when it was ‘chopped down’. I think it needed something a bit more dramatic. Perhaps something didn’t work quite right, I don’t know. I thought your lighting was well designed and used to good effect to enhance the action. You used your two spotlights well and your use of moving-head lights and gobos was effective, and not overused. The haze to enhance the effects was also perfectly measured. Speaking of which, I thought the ‘low lying’ fog was excellent when it was used to represent clouds as our heroes climbed the beanstalk. That was a very effective scene. Sound effects worked well but I thought the Giant’s voice was overly distorted making it difficult to hear some of the things he was saying. Other than that, though, the sound was very clear and your use of radio mics was very accomplished. A lot of hard work must have gone into all those very fine props. They were all perfectly chosen for the show and congratulations to the team for that.
Music and Choreography
I thought you used a good mix of songs and I enjoyed the musical side of the show. You have some lovely singers who you used to great effect. The chorus songs were delivered with gusto and everything was well rehearsed and delivered with confidence. I enjoyed your use of original lyrics too. There was some lovely choreography. You really do have a team of very talented dancers, who you used to good effect. I liked how you also blended the dancers and the rest of the chorus in the ensemble numbers. You have a fantastic little four-piece band so I was a little bemused by the mixture of live music and backing tracks or songs. Some smaller societies find live music hard to accomplish but, when you have the means to do it, by and large I prefer the music to be live. That is one of the joys of live theatre. And when you did play live, it was very accomplished. You also effectively used music to underscore the action and to link scenes. All great stuff. All in all, the music and choreography was a major strength of the show.
Costumes and Makeup
I thought there were some lovely costumes with only a couple of reservations. It was good to see the dame changing costumes at every opportunity, which is just how it should be. But I felt it would have been so much better if the dresses had been hooped. It would have given the Dame so much more presence and it would have allowed her to glide around that extensive stage with great aplomb! I would also have liked colourful DMs rather than black, although the colourful laces helped. My other concern was the baddies in the Giant’s lair. More sinister, frightening costumes would have been so much better. As it was we had pretty girls with a half mask. It didn’t quite do it for me. By contrast, I enjoyed Fleshcreep’s appearance. He really was a sinister creature! Perhaps a tad more makeup would have helped but the wig, the hat and the outfit were very good indeed, all enhanced, of course, by his demeanour. I thought the cow costume was lovely – particularly that udder! The King looked splendidly regal and Fairy Grapevine was a picture! I was particularly impressed by the attention to detail for the chorus costumes where even the shoes were matching. I loved some of the costumes for the chorus and the dancers – those soldier outfits are a fine example. There were a lot of changes for the chorus and dancers so very well done indeed. Great stuff.
Choruses and Dancers
Smashing stuff. Wonderful strong delivery, winning smiles and some wonderful dancing. All top notch panto fare! I particularly like Hillbilly Rock, which really got the party started! And I loved Shake Your Tail Feather, which was a great opener to Act 2. Great stuff!
Jack played by Toby Turley
It was good to see this part taken by a male - especially since you have all the necessary attributes! You have great stage presence and have a confident aura. You also have a lovely singing voice and are no mean mover in the dances! So a good all round performance. Well done.
Simple Simon played by Matt Wilson
Ah! The archetypal fool and linkman! It was a shame your name was wrong in the programme but I hope I have it right! As with the others, you have wonderfully clear diction and generally speaking your audience rapport was good. I felt perhaps you didn’t get as many laughs as we should but that may have been the script, the first show audience or simply that the kids in the matinee didn’t get the humour. I really loved your songs – great fun. I felt you needed to have rehearsed the house number more and to develop a better rapport with Lord Crusty. It would also have been good to have pre-planned a series of questions to ask the kids and rehearsed some witty ripostes. But, that aside, this was a strong performance. Well done!
Princess Violet played by Niamh Small
What a wonderful singing voice you have! I loved your solo, I loved your energetic entrances as you skipped onto the stage, and I was very impressed by your dancing too. If you have an area to concentrate on, it is to make sure that your spoken delivery isn’t too fast but overall this was a very strong all-round performance.
King Bing played by Matt Turner
The King, of course has to master the dual characteristics of regal grandeur and slight stupidity. I thought you did it remarkably well. You certainly have the bearing and posture for the role and you most certainly looked the part. Perhaps you could have teased us a little more with your enjoyment of the milky pudding! But it was a great portrayal. Well done.
Daisy the Cow played by Jo Turley and Flo Rice
What a great udder! And it was an udderly entertaining performance. It’s hard to convey ‘character’ from inside an animal costume, but I thought you did so remarkable well. Impressive.
Dame Deirdre played by Justin Hodge
Again, I was impressed by your great diction and stage presence, which I thought would have been enhanced by hooped dresses and, more importantly from your perspective, even stronger entrances. Flounce on like nobody else can flounce. And I know this is difficult in a big auditorium, but try to develop a more intimate relationship with the audience. Draw them into your zany universe and talk to them as though they’re your best mates. Don’t feel the need to ‘project’ all the time, darling! Especially when you’re miked, it is possible to develop that intimacy. But that said, a great performance that I really enjoyed.
Lord Crusty played by Glynn Webster
I thought this was a cracking performance. You are right on top of your game and deliver with style and confidence. Your impersonation of Fleshcreep made me giggle and your control in the house number was good although see my comments to Simple Simon, because they equally apply. Overall, great.
Fairy Grapevine played by Lydia Lakin
Great presence and good eye contact with the audience. The timing of your entrances was good and I really loved your bearing. Make sure you keep that pronunciation clear and perhaps look for the humour in some of the rather ridiculous lines you have! A good all-round performance.
Fleshcreep played by Dave Bonser
I thought this was a great performance – full of character and just the right level of sinister evilness. You are a strong player who has good rapport with the other characters and, most importantly, with the audience. I also thoroughly enjoyed your songs. Tremendous stuff.
The Giant’s Voice spoken by Luke Holman
It is difficult for me to say too much as I think your voice was somewhat over distorted, making it difficult to know exactly what you were saying although it was clear whatever it was, it was fairly ominous! Certainly in terms of tone and timbre, the delivery seemed spot on.
What a great show from a talented group. Well-rehearsed and lively, it made a great spectacle. With a bit more attention to detail in the comedy front this would have been absolutely first class. It is great for Glastonbury and Street to have entertainment of this calibre.
Well done to everybody.
ROSE BOWL ADJUDICATION
DATE: 2.30 Sunday 31 December 2017
ADJUDICATOR: Barbara Smith
The Set hired from Scenery Hire Ltd and Little Shop of Hires was an excellent choice for this Pantomime and with the many well painted backcloths affording fine changes of location, and perfectly suited to the proportions of the stage with an effective Border around the Pros Arch. I appreciated the Pre-set with Gauze with title ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ in front of a colourful Woodland backcloth, backlit with robo-gobos, all projecting a fine anticipation of Pantomime. We moved from a backcloth of a Medieval Town Square to Countryside, to a Barn Milking Parlour, Cloudland, and an impressive Giant’s Kitchen; castle corridor, and finally back home with a ruched curtain for the Finale. All these backcloths were well painted and atmospheric and suiting the various locations.
The scene changes were effected quickly and smoothly apart from the two awkward changes from Giant Kitchen to Passage in Giant Castle, and perhaps it might have been better to have a front backcloth with less acting area in order to set the Kitchen behind. Prompts for Sound and Lighting well cued apart from Giant Voice mic’ing at beginning of Act 2. The exits and entrances of the large Chorus were excellently managed and the quick changes for Dame very well managed backstage.
There was obviously a very well trained and disciplined Stage Crew particularly with so many scene changes and a very large Chorus.
The Props were again in excellent style and well presented. A fine spindle with lots of string for the ‘string joke’ and props for the Milking Scene and traditional ‘custard pie’ plate of foam. A very effective ‘growing’ Beanstalk from the refuse bin set on a plinth outside the Dames’ House, and then excellent large cage, giant’s table and chair, a good harp, and sword for Jack.
COSTUMES, MAKE-UP & WIGS
The Costumes hired from Triple C’s Costumes were excellent both with colour and style projecting a traditional Pantomime atmosphere with mixture of fashion both Period, Present, and Fantasy. The Dame had many changes of colourful costume and wigs, and Simon with multi-coloured with striped socks, full shirts, and ‘Baker Boy’ berets. King sumptuous in red coat and breeches, Lord Crusty formal in coat, breeches and white periwig. I appreciated zany Fairy Grapevine in her bright purple and dark pink costume complete with changes of glasses, and Fleshcreep in black with top hat and velvet tails with green labels, Jack in patched trousers and Violet in pretty dress, but I was disappointed with Daisy in a basic cow costume which did not allow for maximum effect in the Milking Scene The costumes for the Chorus were first class both for Junior and Intermediate groups and the Specialist Dancers looked superb in their many numbers – I especially appreciated the red uniforms and busby hats in the marching number, the masks in the haunting scene, also the beanstalk growing sequence with the sequined floating green costumes, and the superb ‘Shake Your Feather’ outfits.
The Dame wigs and periwig for Lord Crusty good, and the excellent long curled hairstyling for the Chorus was superb and must have taken a skilled time to achieve for each performance, and the Fairy with lovely styled Ash blonde hair. All looked immaculate.
Make-up again excellent and in fine character style with pale faced and hollowed eyed Fleshcreep to the excellently exaggerated OTT Dame Makeup, and the touch of freckles for Simon. Fairy make-up was in fine style as was Lord Crusty, and the Chorus looked excellent in immaculate make-ups. Set, Costume, Make-up, and Wigs added greatly to the excellent visuals.
The Direction had ensured that all the technical elements were firmly co-ordinated and an excellent visual presentation was projected in true Pantomime style. The characterisations were all secure and projected with energy and fine vocalisation and security. The input of the Dancers and Chorus was first class and made an impressive impact, and the projection of Good and Evil by Fairy Grapevine and Fleshcreep was excellent. The impact of the growing Beanstalk from the refuse bin was very good, and the stage business and slapstick which is so important in Pantomime was basically secure, but there was a problem in the fact that it was often very protracted and the punch line lost impact. For instance the ‘String’ joke was very well conceived but it took so long to conclude, and the Princess was left holding the spindle on and off for a long time before the Dame finally appeared at the other end. The Milking Scene, although having some good stage business, took a long time to reach its conclusion with a rather weak Cow ‘delivery’ of various forms of ‘milk’. There was an inherent problem with this Production in that the script was long and wordy with the convoluted and protracted jokes before the realisation of the punch line. In Act 2 the second, ‘Somewhere in the Castle’ scene could well have been cut as we had already experienced a traditional ‘chase’ sequence. I felt gradually during the progress of the production a balance of characterisation was lost, with Simon dominating the stage with business and dialogue, rather than the Dame.
All the characters projected their dialogue clearly and with an excellent security with the text and all related well with the audience. Although following the traditional story line of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and having excellent Visuals, Dance, and Characterisation which were a delight to watch, this Pantomime suffered from overlong scripting which slowed pace and impact, and it could well have been cut and hence reduced the nearly three hours’ duration.
The musical combination of Keyboard, Reeds, Bass, and Percussion was perfect both for the Pantomime numbers and also suiting the smaller Venue. Throughout the balance of music with the vocals was very good and well modulated and the Drumming was never dominating, and with the live sound effects well timed and effective. There was always a well timed rhythmic backing for all the songs and with sensitivity for the more lyrical numbers, and strong drumming beat for Rap number, ‘Paradise’. Very fine Keyboard underscoring for Milking Scene and for scene changes. Good Band input into the Chase Scene with fine rhythm. The smooth and well timed musical input gave a fine input to the success of the Pantomime.
The solo singing input was good with a very strong input from the Chorus who projected each number with strength, vitality, and strongly projected vocalisation. The opening number with the Chorus with ‘Footloose’ made a strong vocal impact and set a strong and energised Pantomime atmosphere. Jack and Violet with, ‘I Could Easily Fall (In Love With You)’ was well projected with a fine pitch from Violet and a good quality,
Light, tenor input from Jack and making this a fine duet number. The Rap number ‘Paradise’ with a strongly energised input from Fleshcreep, Fairy, and Helpers, and a well characterised input from Jack for ‘Farewell Daisy’ number.
Act 2 and ‘Violet’s Lament’ - a challenging number with a wide range of notes was delivered with great feeling but lower notes did tend to be a little forced. However, the song made a fine impact being sung from the cage in the Giant’s Kitchen. Fleshcreep with ‘Romance’ gave a finely characterised projection of this song. A good duet with Violet and Jack with strong input from the Chorus, ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ and a strongly projected Finale number. There was minimal solo singing input but a strong and energised Chorus input.
The personal Mics were well controlled and sound balance with the Band also very good. There was a minor problem as already mentioned about a mic being switched on for the Giant at beginning of Act 2, but I was not happy with the re-verb on the live Giant voice as it was difficult to capture exactly what the Giant was saying, due to a strong sibilant sound to the dialogue due vocal distortion. All the sound recordings used for effects and music were excellent both with quality and reproduction.
I was impressed with the fine technique of the Dancers. The Chorus was large and the acting area limited and this did inhibit patterns of movement which was mainly in lines and with a maximum of use of arm movements. The Specialist Dancers were excellent, and both the Intermediate and Junior Chorus performed to a high standard with all dancers in time, with energy, and a fine animation and smiling faces. Fine first number in true Panto style with the Chorus as Villagers and with excellent input from Jack, and then good grouping of the Villagers during dialogue. The Line Dance in the Barn Milking Scene was excellent and I was impressed with the input of all especially the Junior Chorus. I was disappointed that the Cow did not have the traditional ‘Cow’ dance during the Milking Scene, and in fact the Cow movement could have been choreographed to give a more co-ordinated movement with the ‘two sets of legs’. Jack had good movement in ‘Farewell Daisy’. I have to be truthful that I found the number, ‘Simon’s Efforts’ although amusing and very well executed, a little bizarre with its intention of Simon proving his talent to the Dame dressed as a ‘Bean’ and with psychedelic spirits around him – however it was an impressive and very well executed routine. The following number ‘The Beanstalk Grows’ was excellently executed and choreographed in balletic style and with a fine use of the stage.
Act 2 and ‘Shake Your Tailfeather’ was an excellent routine with Dancers and both Intermediate and Junior Chorus. There was a good variety of steps and fine twist input all with good technique and impressive energy and well timed by all. ‘Army of Two’ had amusing marching with slow and quick steps and excellent input from the Dancers with red coats and Busbys and a very energised and ‘exaggerated’ routine with good step variety and technique. Another effective number for the ‘haunted’ scene with Masked Dancers, and later a convincing sword fight. The Finale was projected with an energised routine with effective arm movements. The Dance input added greatly to the Pantomime.
The lighting input was excellent and added greatly to the visual effect of the Pantomime. A good use of Spot on Fairy Grapevine and Fleshcreep entrances often dimly lit accompanied by a thunder effect. There was an effective use of purple/pink and gold for bright daylight scenes and then greens effectively used for the Giant Castle passages. An excellent use of cross lighting for the Beanstalk Growing dance sequence. The lighting was excellently cued and controlled and added greatly to the various atmospheres and locations of the many scenes.
JACK – A lively and well motivated characterisation relating well to all other characters and especially Princess Violet, and his scenes with her were projected with sensitivity. He made immediate impact with his smart entrances and exits and his excellent movement and dance skills and promising singing voice. The input into taking the Cow to Market and meeting with Fleshcreep although a wordy sequence was a well-played parting with Daisy. A fine distress and urgency when realising that Violet is in the Giant’s power and good piece ‘climbing’ the Beanstalk. Well timed sword fight and rescue of Violet. A well played ‘Hero’ role.
SIMPLE SIMON – From the moment he appeared there was an instant rapport and relating with the audience both with energy and excellent facial expression and body language. At first he was an excellent stooge and sidekick for his Mother Dame Trott and supported her jokes, but gradually from the Milking Parlour Scene, Simon with his dialogue, became the more the dominant, taking the audience’s attention and feeding lines to the Dame, although both were relating to the audience with excellent energy. He kept a fine pace and cuing throughout and his delivery of punch lines was very good. A fine relating with the children in the traditional Audience Song piece. This was a fine performance of boundless energy and excellent relating with the audience.
PRINCESS VIOLET – A very sweet and romantic characterisation in true Pantomime style and with lovely ‘skipping’ entrances and exits. She related well with Jack and together made a fine romantic pair. The scene imprisoned in the cage in the Giant Kitchen was well played with her urgency to help find the key to release her.
With her fine singing and movement skills a well played role was projected in the traditional romantic Pantomime style.
KING BING – A very regal and upright and ‘upper crust,’ Kingly presence, and the actor possessed a fine quality speaking voice which was projected with authority. A good piece when going into raptures about milky puddings. A regal relating with the attentive Lord Crusty. A fine regal characterisation of the Pantomime King.
DAISY THE COW – As mentioned I was disappointed with the basic Cow outfit which could not afford much help in the ‘milk producing’ scene - I have worked with and seen much better Cow costumes. I felt too little attention had been given to the two girls in co-ordinating their leg movements together and was disappointed there was not the traditional ‘Cow Dance’, and felt they could have achieved much more with more guidance. There were fine reactions in the Milking piece with Simon despite the lack of ‘mechanics’ with the delivery of milk and again fine reactions to being sold.
DAME DEIDRE – A superb, first ‘flying’ entrance and I appreciated the natural quality voice used instead of the often very forced ‘falsetto’ which is difficult to keep going. Fine delivery of the first one-liner jokes and then a fine soliloquy and relating with the audience with superb energy although I did feel the throwing of the sweets was protracted and slowed pace – but the children appreciated it. Relating very well with Simon, despite the tendency for his role to become the more dominant and in fact ‘clever’ with repartee during the Second Act. Good input into the Giant Castle scenes with energy and fine body language. Throughout the fine character projection and relating with all on stage were excellent, with a never failing energy and strong vocal presence.
LORD CRUSTY - The character developed strongly throughout the Pantomime from a flustered first presence with the King to a very amiable and ‘camp effete’ and becoming quite madly ‘silly’. Full of energy and smartly cued delivery of dialogue and projecting a very engaging presence. Excellent facial expressions and body language throughout. I enjoyed this characterisation throughout its progress.
FAIRY GRAPEVINE - Delightfully zany and full of fun – she brightened up the stage every time she appeared. Excellent command of the rhyme and a perfect foil for Fleshcreep. A lovely perkiness with gestures, expressions, and full of energy – and those changes of glasses added to her sense of fun. I really appreciated this characterisation.
FLESHCREEP - Another excellent characterisation and again a perfect contrast to Fairy Grapevine and like her a fine command of the opening rhyming. A superb evil laugh and excellent menacing voice. Good piece as the ‘stranger’ Jack meets on way to Market and fine evil expression. There was a fine ‘cringing’ body language to the Giant Voice. His delivery was always well cued and he kept the pace of his scene going well. This was a first class characterisation and added greatly to the atmosphere of the Pantomime.
GIANT VOICE - A fine quality voice which I felt would have been better without the muffled distortion – the deep bass quality could have been enhanced just with volume.
DANCERS - First class technique in every way and projecting the numbers with energy and finesse – I appreciated their excellent input.
INTERMEDIATE CHORUS - Excellently energised and disciplined performance and all with good timing with each other. Always smiling and projecting the numbers with obvious enjoyment.
JUNIOR CHORUS - As with the Intermediate Chorus a first class input and again I was impressed with the discipline and smiling enjoyment of the numbers. They all had such an impressive stage presence.
The Teamwork was impressive with all relating to each other and to the audience. I was full of admiration for the energy after such a long performance, and to keep this going for six performances has my utmost congratulations and, despite certain reservations, I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.
Thank you for your kind hospitality and I look forward to being asked to another presentation by Glastonbury & Street Musical Comedy Society in the near future.