There are only so many pantomimes around, but no matter how many Aladdins and Jack and the Beanstalks you see, they’ll always be different because of the people they feature.
Lindrick Players as a group certainly have some real characters in their midst.
Carlton Village Hall saw Lindrick Players on stage and performing 2011’s panto Sleeping Beauty with great enthusiasm and attention to detail.
As Director Pat Thomas says in her programme introduction, the group make directing an easy task and the production a “combined effort”.
This was a show where, unusually, the King and Queen in the story were allowed to be the comedy act, something that Dan Sprowell and Sarah Hemsall can do with the best of them. Dan always seems to have a naughty twinkle in his eye and the ability to react immediately to errors or shouts from the audience, either with a timely comment of just a look. Sarah just abandons herself totally to a role and her speech and facial expressions just follow suit. These two had us all in stitches. Surely they should be on a bigger stage - they’re just so funny. It was really good to see the return of Bill Scott to Carlton as Dame Ammonia Goodbody, resplendent in an array of colourful wigs and outfits. All he needs now is a really good set of eyelashes to complete the look!
Princess Aurora and Prince Valiant played by Jennifer Stephenson and Alice Carter made a strong team. Jennifer has great confidence and a good voice well-matched by Alice’s acting and singing style. Alice made a brilliant Valiant on stage swishing her blond ponytail to great effect and looking stunning in her outfits of velvet, lace, fishnet tights and high-heeled boots.
Forrest Malloch appeared as Fusspot and Helen Stephenson as Tickles. Forest has real presence and made an excellent Lord Chamberlain with a sense of humour and it was a change not to see Helen fiercely clutching a handbag and a real change to see her appear as a rather dense royal jester complete with bells.
Mathew Scott and James Green, as Shout and Bawl the heralds, minced around the stage and blew imaginary trumpets with style. A stroke of casting genius saw the Good Fairy, Pat Shepherd accompanied by five fairies who graced the stage with their collective presence.
Noble Pat stood in at very short notice for a Lindrick member, who was taken ill, and performed remarkably well using a ‘spell book’ to hide some lines.
Lindrick Players know how to put on a good panto with traditionally awful jokes that make you groan, inspirational solos, community songs, carefully painted sets and elaborate props, lavish costumes and good lighting and sound production.
As usual I’m left with some questions. Who was that man rushing round the stage in a red hat (we need to see more of him on stage) and why did the bumble bee descend from a great height? Will we ever find out?
by Wendy Fidoe