Little Waltham Drama Group at the Memorial Hall
Men in tights, archery, weird sisters and Richard Lionheart – all for our delight in this colourful panto, Little Waltham's 42nd, following their proud tradition of village entertainment.
The large cast includes a healthy sprinkling of young talent, and one newcomer, Ryan Chapman as Prince John.
Verity Southwell makes an imposing thigh-slapper as Robin, Martin Final a benignly evil Sheriff, and there's a nice double act from Glyn Jones and Bill Murphy as Friar Tuck and his camp friend Little John.
Darrel Drake handles his audience confidently as [Nothing] Much the Miller's Son, Hannah Walker [last year's Alice] is an amusingly feisty Marian, and Mike Lee gives us a superb Nurse Madonna Kebab – a terrific horned headdress, great gags and a winning way with the songs, including the priceless “I'm Wishing” with Walker.
On opening night there's a band of merry men [and women] sporting feathered red Nottingham hats near the front of the audience. They're here to heckle Ken Little's Twiddle [another double act, with Karen Wray's Twoddle]. And he does not disappoint, pointing the innuendo, ad-libbing and keeping us all in stitches. Another comedy classic from Brian Corrie as Sergei of Lisbon, building relentlessly to the naughty Act One punchline.
Ian Hornby's patchy script needs a linking narrative [sung with panache by Vicky Weavers' Alana A Dale]; Little Waltham give it a gutsy, lively performance, with excellent musical accompaniment from Dave Perry at the upright, [Billy Mayerl ousted by the Drifters this year for the sweetie run] and lovely backdrops by Liz Jones [the proscenium paintings this year striking silhouettes of Robin and the castle].