Little Waltham Drama Group
This is Little Waltham's 37th pantomime. Village panto is an endangered species; you mess with the classic ingredients at your peril.
Thankfully, there are still the broker's men – Shout and Bawl the Heralds this year, played by Ken Little and Glyn Jones. Colin the Drummer is still in the pit, the set still features proscenium-side designs, and the UV paint shows no sign of drying up.
So how do they keep the winning formula fresh ? Well, we welcomed two talented youngsters, including Zoe Pearson as a comely Princess Rose, and a virgin Dame – Mike Lee as a beefy Ammonia Goodbody with a cheeky smile and a voice wobbling between profundo and falsetto. Richard Butler had had something of a makeover. His grubby Percy looked like a lascivious gnome, but he still managed to work the audience like the shameless old pro he is.
Gill Haysham was just as watchable as Beatrice, queen to Brian Corrie's playing-card King. And Andy Walker made a lovely Rupert the Retainer, giving us a Crocodile Rock in jump suit and medallion.
And of course there was a chance to sing-along, kick-start the time machine, and grab the sweets: aficionados will need to know that the walkabout tune was Maple Leaf Rag.
The score opened with a nice Pachelbel, but from then on it was mostly Magic of the Musicals – Gigi, Rocky Horror, Chitty, South Pacific, Chicago ...
The lively chorus, singing lustily, were strong in support, from Sweet Sixteen to Don't Stop Me Now. MD was Chrissy Gould, and the panto was directed by Susan Butler.