Sunday, December 20, 2009


Danbury Players


Swarms of bees, gangs of zombie bears – it was no picnic in the woods today.

Danbury Players unusual panto did respect some of the time-honoured traditions: Pauline Chaplin's Tomtom [the Piper's son] was a cross-dressing thigh-slapper, who sang the obligatory love duet with Goldilocks [Megan Cutts]. There was an elimination number, a competitive singalong, and plenty of boos and behind you!s. Annette Michaels had considerable presence as the Dame, with Stuart Charlesworth trying hard as her dim son Ray.

Less predictably, we had a failed philosopher lumberjack [who managed to chop all the irony out of the Python anthem], a “mean and vicious” Queen Bee baddie [nicely done by Jean Speller] and some very snappy dance routines from Bam Bam Boogies.

Tyro directors Trevor Hammond and Debbi Flack included plenty of bear puns, honey humour and lumber jokes. The music, including some cleverly adapted hits, was directed by James Tovey.

After the walk-down and the curtain calls, the whole company joined in “Merry Christmas Everyone” – a sentiment that Jim Hutchon and I would happily echo.

If I might make one or two stage-craft suggestions for next year, it would be to encourage actors to stand still rather than shuffle, to have fewer scene changes, and music to cover them, and to make the dialogue as short as the songs.

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