Wednesday, January 22, 2014


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].

1 comment:

Mary Redman said...

As a hugely entertained veteran of many an attack both physical and verbal from the sharp witted casts of Little Waltham pantos in the past (naming no names) I looked forward to this one.
As usual great fun and very entertaining evening from a group which long ago distilled the essential spirit of this very specialised art form.
From the human comedy mountain that was Mike Lee's nurse Madonna to Hannah Walker's dynamo Maid Marian whose very pretty singing voice and calm covering up of other people's bloopers were excellent.
I loved Bryan Corrie's expert exploitation of quick fire double entendres and Martin Final's thoroughgoingly nasty Sheriff.
Foot-tapping piano music provided by Dave Perry backed the excellent choice of songs. Nothing too sloppy mushy romantic but plenty of rhythm to be had.
Directed by highly experienced Little Waltham panto performers Linda Burrow and Kim Travell their work demonstrated the importance of both tradition and innovation in a well-costumed show that ran at a cracking pace. Out by about 9.45pm - very civilised!
Book early, book often for 2015's offering or you'll miss a really watchable panto.

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