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The Wizard of Oz

Whirlwinds and Wizardry

The Wizard of Oz

by Frank L Baum, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Young

Dramacube Productions at Hampton Hill Theatre until 23rd December

Review by Claire Alexander

I looked forward to seeing Dramacube’s production of The Wizard of Oz with my six year old nephew. He would indeed be a critical audience having played the Tin Man in a (far, far simpler) performance as part of a holiday club earlier this year. We were not disappointed.

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We all know the story. Young Dorothy, bored with life in rural Kansas, where she only has her beloved dog Toto for company and a number of very busy older siblings, is transported beyond the cyclone and the mysterious Land of Oz. There, on her quest to find the Wizard of Oz (only he has the power to get her home), she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the cowardly Lion. They are all looking for something to make their life complete. And so starts their journey through Munchkinland, to the Emerald City. Dorothy has to overcome the Wicked Witch of the West and rescue her broomstick, before the Wizard will grant their wishes. And in a final twist the balloon that will take her home blows away before she has a chance to catch it! This was presented as the traditional musical it is, complete with all of the well-known numbers – Over the Rainbow and We’re off to See the Wizard to name a couple.

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This was an assured production from Dramacube, given all of their performers are under fourteen and some could be as young as seven. It was well presented and I liked the gauze curtain against which were projected images of life in Kansas, before it was raised to give us a more open stage depicting Oz. I particularly liked the animated horse, and the untethered balloon at the end. And then, once in Oz we had the eponymous yellow brick road stretching into the distance and the Emerald City, and this gave us a nice sense of perspective. The Hampton Hill Theatre can be a deep and a big stage when there is an open set and this cast of 21 young performers (all playing multiple roles) filled it impressively well. There was also a raised platform which was used to good effect by the wicked witch, and the crows, which also helped to give us a sense of power and height. I had the sense that the young cast had all been involved to some extent in the creation of the set and I certainly imagined the bright land of Oz ‘over the rainbow’.

There were some other nice touches. I liked the way Toto was played by a cuddly toy when we were in Kansas and turned into a shaggy scampering dog when we got to Oz – well maintained by Joshua Briggs. The chorus choreography (K’ja Young Thomas and Danielle Bond) was relatively simple but everyone knew what they were doing, and there were some good dancers among the Jitterbugs.

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The performances (I saw the Twickenham Blue cast) matched the brightness of the set and costumes with their energy and enthusiasm. It is unfair to pick out a few names when everyone had multiple roles and really contributed to the whole. But I was particularly impressed with Anya Malinowska (as Dorothy 1) singing Over the Rainbow – this was a really striking performance, no obvious nerves, of the song that is always associated with Dorothy and right at the beginning of the show too. Well done. Almost unnoticed Dorothy 1 swapped into Dorothy 2 in the form of Daisy Allen. She has already developed a confident presence on stage and she ably led her growing team of characters in her quest to find the Wizard. And finally Sophie Collins was a truthful and natural Dorothy 3 just as Dorothy’s journey was ending. I also wanted to mention Joseph Kirwan who was a wonderfully natural scarecrow! He delivered his lines with a great ‘dead pan cool’ and there is an emerging comic talent there. My nephew pricked up his ears and enjoyed the Tin Man (Jake McGowan) who wanted a heart, and mouthed the lines ‘oil, oil’ with him. And the three were ably joined by Eva Scargill as the Lion in search of courage who had a gentle timid presence. Another performance that stood out for me was Larissa Shaffrick as eccentric Professor Marvel.

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But this was truly an ensemble production. You have to be organised to play several parts with costume changes in the space of an hour and there was no sense of uncertainty on stage. Some of the performers are still very inexperienced but energy, enthusiasm and commitment shone from everyone and there is a wealth of talent among these young performers.

The only thing I missed was a reprise at the end of one of the well-known numbers by all of the cast – that would have been a worthy and fitting end to the show.

Dramacube has four casts of this show and they have all been rehearsing throughout the autumn term. I saw the ‘Twickenham Blue’ cast but I have no doubt I would have found just as much enchantment and talent in any of the other casts. Stephen Leslie and Matthew Bunn and all the adults assisting are doing some great work to nurture and encourage young performers and I am sure we will see them again as they get older and graduate to local youth theatres, secondary schools and adult groups.

Claire Alexander
December 2019

Photography by Bomi Cooper

 

 

Fault Lines

Triumph from Disaster

Fault Lines

by Ali Taylor

Questors at Questors Studio Theatre, Ealing until 4th January

Review by Emma Byrne

“What’s Christmas without a disaster?” asks the tagline from this show, in which the geological and the personal combine to create the backbone of a funny, often touching, play. The epicentre of the action is a small and struggling UK charity, desperately trying to make an impact in the aftermath of an earthquake in Pakistan. Oh, and it’s Christmas Eve.

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From ill-advised office party antics to well-meaning attempts to supply the first tents in the disaster area, the staff of Disaster Relief face a four-day reckoning that registers at least a five on the Richter scale: the effects are felt well beyond the epicentre.

Without giving away the plot, the comedy here is in a similar vein to the humane satire of Drop the Dead Donkey: whatever goes wrong is more likely to be the effect of cockup rather than conspiracy. There’s also something of Alan Ayckbourn’s Life and Beth here too: reactions to tragedy aren’t always as expected, which makes for cracking dramatic tension as well as some comedy moments.

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Playwright, Ali Taylor (and director Gary R Reid) set out the four protagonists, Abi, Nick, Ryan, and Pat in act one and, without being too heavy on exposition, they sell the stakes nicely. But if act one is the wind up then act two is the punch: high-stakes choices made amid rapid-fire cross talk, delivered with fantastic fervour by Will Langley (Nick) in particular.

FaultLine12The piece has to be an ensemble to work, and there were lots of generous choices on stage. Questors newcomer Callum Dove (Ryan) does great background character work throughout, adding depth without ever pulling focus. Ryan could have been played as a bunch of nebbishy ticks, but Dove really sells Ryan’s awkward intensity in a way that is touchingly genuine.

Will Langley also makes some great choices when it comes to Nick’s effortless tone-switching between mockney man-of-the-people and media-schmoozing smoothie. Pamela Major’s Pat is a great portrait of someone whose idealism has been tugged slightly out of shape over the years – rather like a beloved but baggy cardigan. When she comments that Christmas is a great time for disasters, thanks to Major’s commitment it reads pragmatism plus idealism minus tact, rather than ghoulishness.

But it’s Neetu Nair’s Abi that has to carry much of the play’s weight. Abi’s personal and professional life are upended in the course of the play. The energy she brings is pretty relentless, but it is her resigned calm in act two that really allows her range to shine.

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This is a technically demanding play and huge credit must go to set designer Fiona McKeon, whose mismatched and slightly grotty office interior is almost a character in its own right. Credit, too, goes to the stage manager and crew who manage fourteen scene changes (with attendant jumps in time) with a slick precision that ensures that the energy of the piece stays high. The number of technical cues from the control box, from phone calls to breaking news on TV, would have flummoxed a lesser company. This well-drilled production never skipped a beat.

If you’re feeling jaded, conflicted, or disappointed this Christmas season, this production of Fault Lines is for you. While hilarious, it’s by no means escapist: the conflict between ideals and pragmatism has rarely felt more timely than after this recent election. But by identifying with these well-meaning, all-too-human characters who are muddling through, there is at least catharsis in the chaos.

Emma Byrne
December 2019

Photography by Robert Vass

Treasure Island

Cutlasses Out

Treasure Island

by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Bryony Lavery

Putney Theatre Company at Putney Arts Theatre until 22nd December

Review by Andrew Lawston

Jim Hawkins goes to sea in search of buried treasure, and discovers storms, mutiny, pirates, and adventure. From Tim Curry brandishing his cutlass through a horde of Muppets, to Monkey Island computer games, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island has been constantly adapted, reinterpreted, and reimagined since its first publication in 1882. Tonight it’s the turn of Putney Arts Theatre, in Bryony Lavery’s adaptation. Directed by Emma Miles and Angharad Ormond, the show makes effective use of cross-casting to assemble a confident and polished production that alternates between suspenseful drama and broad comedy, without ever quite veering into pantomime.

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Stevenson’s adventure novel invented many of the tropes we’ve long come to associate with pirates and their grog-swigging, parrot-perching, treasure-burying, map-making ways, and this production embraces them unashamedly. The foyer has been dressed as an island, with a pre-show magician, live music, and there’s grog sold at the bar by a front of house team who are in costume and setting the mood wonderfully. Barney Hart-Dyke’s set is largely empty, except for a platform at the back, and a map of the island spread across the stage. Violinist Stan Stanley plays a long medley of sea shanties as the audience shuffles in.

As the lights go down and Jim springs to her feet to relate her life story, the cast quickly and effectively assemble the Admiral Benbow Inn from a few wooden barrels, pewter tankards and a door frame. Later on, the same simple set elements will be reconfigured into a coach, and the Hispaniola. This device has been well used over the years, but the ensemble really sell the illusion with slick, energetic, and confident scene changes.

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As visitors start to arrive at the Admiral Benbow, Live Foley Paul Graves starts to come into his own at his desk on stage left. While initially limited to providing sound effects for the inn’s bell for each new arrival, he quickly begins to steal the show with the sound of swords being drawn, bubbling mud, storms, tin skulls, and more.

The Admiral Benbow’s denizens are a lively bunch, from the charmingly surreal comedy of Grandma Hawkins (Ally Staddon) and Mrs Crossley (Chris Routledge) to tavern regulars Red Ruth, Job Anderson, Lucky Micky, and Silent Sue (Marie-Jose Fulgence, Michael Otim-Okot, Jeff Graves, and Loetitia Delais respectively). Black Cove life is presided over by Ben Kynaston’s splendidly pompous and clueless Squire Trelawney, and rather more severely by Carrie Cable’s gruff and fatalistic Doctor Livesey.

TreasureIslePromo1When the pirates show up: Vanessa Cutts as Billy Bones, and Sharon Czudak as Black Dog, the action begins in earnest. The first of many fights, arranged by Richard Kirby and Lindsay Rovan, ranges across the whole playing area as the two buccaneers fence with cutlasses. When the terrifying Blind Pew appears (Kim Dyas in a brief but imposing performance), however, it becomes clear that Treasure Island has an inherent problem with tone. It’s a family show, and the audience’s ages range tonight from eight to eighty, but alongside a great deal of humour and larks, there’s also a high body count. While Miles and Ormond have sensibly decided not to employ lashings of fake blood, the action stays true to the book’s occasionally brutal violence. As a result, there’s the occasional awkward moment where a character has their throat cut on stage only to have a comedy sailor step over their corpse to get on with the next bit of fun a few moments later.

In general, the directors have addressed the uneven tone of their material by playing the text as written. The comedy scenes, of which there are many, are played for laughs, and very successfully. During the serious or violent moments, everything is a lot quieter and more controlled.

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Although the story is traditionally viewed as a coming of age adventure for young Jim Hawkins (gamely played with gusto and energy here by Flavia Di Saverio, who carries the show, and provides a spirited point of identification for the audience’s younger members), the limelight is of course hijacked by the one-legged pirate-turned-chef-turned-pirate, Long John Silver. One of the most famous and distinctive characters in literature, this larger-than-life buccaneer demands a charismatic performance, and Charlie Golding more than rises to the challenge. His Silver is often quiet and calculating, with an easy charm. It’s easy to believe both in his friendship with Jim, and in his ruthless streak even when dealing with his own crew. Rather than the traditional “peg leg”, Long John Silver struts the stage in “the finest wooden leg in Brizzle”, a splendid steampunk-style prosthetic prop that allows him to move with real speed and menace.

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Silver is of course accompanied by the malevolent parrot, Captain Flint. Flint is depicted here through a wonderful wooden puppet created by Isaac Insley and Mae Fletcher, and operated by Alexa Adam, complete with punctuating squawks. As a puppeteer forced to cover the whole stage, often at some speed, Alexa sensibly doesn’t attempt to remain invisible, but all eyes were riveted on the parrot itself throughout.

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The rest of the pirates, cutting a dash in splendid costumes, are a wonderfully menacing group from their first entrance: Israel Hands, Dick the Dandy, Killigrew the King, and Joan the Goat (Miguel Bernal-Merino, Michael Maitland, Carlos Fain-Binda and Ally Staddon again) form a great contrast with the carefully anonymous but very likeable Grey (Harrison Chadwick). David Kelly’s blustering but dignified Captain Smollett forms a striking contrast with the pirates and amateur sailors from Black Cove.

TreasureIslePromo2Once the Hispaniola reaches its destination, Act 2 opens with a bang, with an introduction to the island’s sole inhabitant, Ben Gunn. Wilf Walsworth’s performance as the abandoned cabin boy is glorious, taking in aspects of King Lear’s Poor Tom, Lord of the Rings’s Gollum, and any number of Monty Python hermits. Flavia Di Saverio’s Jim is particularly effective with Ben, as they discuss cheese, friendship, and buried treasure.

Although the programme notes that Putney Arts Theatre doesn’t have quite the resources of the National Theatre, finds inventive solutions to characters swimming, diving into underground tunnel networks, storms at sea, and more. The designers’ ingenuity seems to have been stretched to the limit throughout. The scenes in which characters are finally seeking the actual treasure are the only point at which you can see that they could really have benefitted from a trapdoor.

With wonderful sea shanties from Rosie Hayes and Stan Stanley, there’s plenty of music in Treasure Island, but this isn’t a pantomime. For families with slightly older children, however, this is a great production of a classic story, with likeable leads, and plenty of visual spectacle, that feels right at home in the festive season. The performance is slick and confident, and endlessly enjoyable. No black spots required!

Andrew Lawston
December 2019

Photography by Benjamin Copping

Cinderella

Mind-blowing, Amazing and Very Funny

Cinderella

by Will Brenton

Imagine Theatre at Phoenix Concert Hall, Croydon until 5th January

A review by Evie Schaapveld, one of our younger reviewers (aged 9)

I thought this panto of Cinderella was mind blowing, mind blowing as in my head nearly exploded because it was just so amazingly good.

One mind blowing bit was when Cinderella gets her luxurious ball gown. It was really very beautiful. They had a white sheet first where they projected these just beautiful images whilst the spell was commencing. Then they took it off, and she was wearing the beautiful gown.

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I gave the set and props 10/10. The screen background at the back of the stage was really good because it made the stage crew’s jobs easier. They didn’t have to change the set as the images were projected on to the back.

I gave the costumes 9/10. One of the stepsisters, Claudia had a pineapple costume and later oCindaFH17n a chandelier costume and I thought that was a bit weird! The other step sister Tess had an improved version of what Claudia wearing. She had a version that was still a chandelier but different to Claudia’s.

There were four characters who made me laugh the most. In order, first was Buttons, then the step sisters and then the stepmother. I think Buttons was very funny, probably the funniest character and my favourite.

Cinderella was very nice. She was quite shy at the beginning and didn’t really stand up for herself, but she became a very confident girl at the end. She was OK with standing up for herself, and was the kind of girl I’d like to be.

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Prince Charming was a very good singer. He was a good lad, with a kind spirit. He just thinks all the girls want him for his money and riches and because if they marry him they’ll get rich (like the stepmother and the stepsisters). But when he meets Cinderella, she didn’t want him for his riches, she wanted him as he was a good man.

CindaFH07I thought his friend Dandini was very funny and he tried to help his friend. He knows that the Prince just wants to go out of the castle, so he gives him an idea of how to do that. They swap positions so the prince is the butler and the butler is the prince.

The ugly sisters were, as with all Dames, very funny. Dames are usually good people in Pantos, but in this one, the stepsisters had to be the Dames. I didn’t actually want to boo them, they were just too funny to boo!

The stepmother was an evil character, but she was a bit funny as well. In Pantos wicked people should have one funny part, at least one funny quirk. They should have something funny to say in a pantomime.

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The fairy godmother was very nice. We didn’t see much of her but I liked how she had this little pink trail of fairy dust. It was very beautiful.

I liked how the dancers involved the children. There were three men and three women, and they were each in a pair like at the ball they were dancing whilst Cinderella and the Prince danced.

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In the first scene the children were villagers, in the second scene they were like palace helpers, not slaves. Then the children were like little fairies. I found it very fun and the children were nice.

In the panto, they did the custard pies and he’s behind you. They had the thing when they brought out different chocolate bars and completed the sentences. The audience shouted out, and someone in the audience shouted out “Boris Johnson!” But they didn’t include the “oh no they didn’t, oh yes they did”.

Overall it was very nice and I found it very funny and enjoyable. I’d recommend other people to go and see this Cinderella twice, it was worth it even if they have to travel from Hampton to Croydon!

Evie Shaapveld
December 2019

Photography by Craig Sugden

The Snow Queen

An Amazing yet Warming Winter Story

The Snow Queen

by Ciaran McConville, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen

RTK and Rose Youth Theatre at The Rose Theatre, Kingston until 5th January

A review by Milly Stephens, one of our younger reviewers (aged 14)

This year’s Christmas show by the Rose Theatre Kingston, directed and written by Ciaran McConville, is an adaption of the classic story, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. The story is about a girl called Gerda (Parisa Shahmir) and one of her close friends, Kai (Jack Wolfe) who have to fight to save the world from the Snow Queen and eternal winter.

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The action starts in a town called Evergreen where the elves are preparing gifts for Christmas, but one young girl called Joy (Emily Porter) finds a mysterious shard mirror which causes some of her older Elf friends to recount the tale of how the mirror came about. I thought that this was a creative and clever way to tell the story of Gerda and Kai, as the story is addressed to Joy on stage as well as the audience.

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This year was the first time for the Christmas show since the refurbishment of the auditorium which has restricted the use of the pit area, which has been used during pre-show in previous years. Even though this might potentially have prevented some interaction with the audience, the cast managed to interact with children in the audience by inviting them onto the stage to put a present in the pile which I thought was very creative direction by Ciaran McConville.

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Another special feature of previous years’ Rose Christmas productions has been the magical snow showers which have cascaded onto the audience during the performance, especially delighting the younger children who often sat on cushion seats in the pit area. No longer having the pit seating meant that they couldn’t sprinkle the ‘snow’ onto the audience, which was a slight shame, but I liked the artificial snow falling on the stage during the finale.

SnowQueen142The original songs written Eamonn O’Dwyer were powerful with lots of strong solos. I especially liked Progress, a song lead by Kai, about his dad’s less than successful inventions, which had some clever pyrotechnics that made it both funny yet moving at the same time.

Jack Wolfe and Parisa Shahmir played Kai and Gerda convincingly with strong voices and amazing emotion. They conveyed their strong emotions towards each other and SnowQueen3other characters. And it was very engaging for the audience as you felt their love towards each other was real. Parisa carried the story of her journey as her energy never faded and Jack supplied emotion and a switch in feelings. And Kai’s characters pulled on heart strings as he talked about wanting to bring his mum back. The pace and context of the story was well managed by the on-stage trio of narrators (Maisie Rodford, Jacob Towey and Daisy Tucker). But Bancu, led by Francis Redfern, stole the show with his amazing comic timing and animated voice. He made the audience laugh till they had stiches. Bancu, the reindeer, was a puppet which was pulled of amazingly. Also, Millie Brownhill gave an emotional and compelling performance as Edda which was particularly engaging and moved the audience with her bravery.

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Whether you are a grandfather or a granddaughter I’m sure that audiences of all ages will delight in this year’s amazing story telling and engaging show at the Rose theatre

Milly Stephens
December 2019

Photography by Mark Douet and Pam Wade

Robin Hood

On target

Robin Hood

by Ben Crocker

Questors Theatre at the Judi Dench Playhouse, until 31 December

A review by Matthew Grierson

You’ve surely all heard the proverbial advice actors are given never to work with children or animals – but whoever devised that pearl of wisdom had not seen Questors’ polished troupe of prodigies and puppeteers.

If you think Emerson Baigent as Alan-A-Dale is fresh-faced as he saunters down from door 1 like some Vegas crooner, he looks positively middle-aged when he is joined on stage by five infants in super-cute woodland creature costumes giving a charming dance to welcome us to Sherwood. The ensemble soon swells in number in a knowing rendition of Bryan Adams’ ‘Everything I do’ … Although we are thankfully spared the entire song when the kids demand something more current and perform an impressively choreographed routine to ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra.

The song and dance takes a momentary breather for the small matter of introducing us to the principals. Lisa Morris gives us an earnest, plucky Robin, but does allow herself some comic latitude, in particular when disguised as ‘Rory MacTavish’ for the archery contest, or being smacked repeatedly in the face by a dungeon door.

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Given the backstory of having to avenge the death of her father, meanwhile, Francesca Young’s Little Joan seems to spend most of the play scowling, but is sensibly paired throughout with Mike Hadjipateras as a comically peckish Friar Tuck. Completing the gang of goodies is Lily Ledwith as Maid Marion, who alternates between plucky helpmeet to Robin and stroppy teenager when dealing with her elders in the castle.

Stealing the acting plaudits, however, not to mention the money of Nottingham’s citizens, are the baddies. Kerri Logan clearly relishes the part of Sheriff, visibly drawing energy from the audience’s booing and hissing to propel her through a succession of songs, including repurposed versions of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and ‘Yesterday’.

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There’s also something Thatcherian in the way she summons her henchman Dennis; although apart from this and Robin’s refrain of ‘wealth redistribution’ there is a surprising absence of topical references – which depending on your political perspective is either a missed opportunity or a blessed relief. Dennis himself, William Connor, earns our sympathy in the way that only a put-upon underling can, and there’s a joyful childishness in his squabbles with the Sheriff not to mention a tremendous three-way rap battle with Robin.

This makes it especially appropriate that, like Joan and Tuck, the villains have to go back to school – although unlike the two Merry Men, they are there to pursue a nefarious plan. For the dastardly duo are disguised as schoolgirls to bump off rich orphan twins Tilly and Tommy (Jian Andany and Logan Surman), who in contrast to the childish grown-ups put in a precociously mature performance. The set-piece classroom scene is a showcase of all that’s wonderful about the production, with the slapstick of Sheriff and Dennis, the silliness of Tuck and Joan, and the well-behaved smartness of the actual children, who, bless them, even wheel their own desks on and off.

Presiding over the school, and giving arguably the largest performance of the evening, is James Goodden as a peerless dame, Winnie Widebottom. The bluff Winnie is not only nanny to Marion, Tilly and Tommy but, among her many impressive costume changes, schoolmarm, singer and the spinning ‘volunteer’ attached to the target for Robin’s arrows, one among many of this production’s feats of stagecraft.

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As you’d expect from Questors’ shows, production values are universally excellent. The thrust stage has been withdrawn to allow more room for families in the stalls – all the better for audience participation, my dear – and leaves the stage as a forest clearing into which various parts of Nottingham Castle, and their occupants, are wheeled with surprising ease.

In this space, the lighting washes signal clear changes of mood, and there are devilish cues of red to accompany the Sheriff’s villainous stings. Also among the simple but effective scenery are several tree trunks, through holes in which a pair of cheeky rabbits puppeteered by Shaan Latif-Shaikh will pop now and again to offer a smart comment on proceedings, before crying ‘Back to the burrow!’ in terror when someone threatens to make them into pie. Other scenery tricks include a prison tower that opens to reveal Tilly and Tommy’s bedroom with a window onto the approaching villains behind, and a skeleton chained to the wall in Robin’s cell that manages to dance along with the ensemble to a lively version of ‘Jailhouse Rock’.

The costumes, made by an ensemble extensive as that on stage, are not only handsome but also many and various, and they all sport dedicated violet and white attire for the wedding–walkdown at the end – yes, even, panto pony Mabel (Dotti Lawson and Zoë Ledwith-Hoult). No wonder, then, that the musical numbers are so frequent as most of the cast seem to be trading togs between each appearance.

It’s to the credit of director Pam Redrup and assistant Dani Hagan Beckett that they keep the pace as taut as Robin’s bowstrings throughout, making for a hit – a very palpable hit.

Matthew Grierson
December 2019

Photography © Rishi Rai

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Twist Your Tongue with Laughter

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

by Alan McHugh and Jonathan Kiley

QDos Entertainment at Richmond Theatre until 5th January

A review by Evie Schaapveld, one of our younger reviewers (aged 9)

I thought this panto was very funny because there were loads of very funny jokes. There were jokes with Haribos, and there were lots of jokes about different parts of London like Richmond and Feltham. The Queen was funny because she was trying to get out of the “oh yes she did, oh no she didn’t” bits and I just found it quite funny.

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They did this bit which was very funny because they got four children to come up with Muddles and they had to say after him “one smart man, he felt smart” and it was very funny because the words came out like “one smart man, he spelt f**t”. I was laughing so hard!

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They did this other tongue twister bit when the Dame asked “what shall we get Snow White for her birthday?”, and Muddles said “let’s get her some sushi from Sue’s sushi Snow7Dshop”, and Prince Harry came and said “are you sure?”, and the Dame said “Sue’s sister runs the sushi shop and Susie runs the shoe shining shop”. It went on really long! I’m out of tongue twisting things! How could they do that without saying it wrong??!!

The costumes were very good and I liked the ending costumes. The set was very good and confusing as they were able to change quickly from the Queen’s laboratory to the castle to the village. I didn’t understand how the crew could have changed the scene in such short time.

Snow White was a very nice girl and the Prince was nice. He was called Prince Harry and he came from Hampton, which I liked. There was kissing! Muddles loves Snow White but he goes with it, and he lets her go to the Prince.

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I was laughing so much at Muddles and his mum, Nurse Nancy. She was the Dame. I liked the bit when they had the jokes about the movies and finished sentences for each other.

There was this joke when Muddles imitated some important people. He pretends to be important and then he impersonates Donald Trump and says “hello and my British name would be Duck F**t”! And I found that really funny and hilarious.

The seven dwarfs were really nice and kind. I think there was Skipper, Sneezy, Clumsy, I can’t remember the one who was in the yellow, and then there was one called Laughing, or Laugher who laughed a lot. There was Blusher and Sleepy who slept a lot and was asleep half the play.

I found Queen Lucretia a very funny evil Queen. Her name sounded like ‘creature’ most of the time. So when the audience was shouting “oh no you didn’t, oh yes you did”, it was funny because she was like “I don’t want to do this, I’m only doing this because I’m paid”. It was very funny.

They sang lots of songs like “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing”, and at the end they throw lots of silver streamers into the audience. Overall, this pantomime was very good, and I suggest that everybody should go to see it. I died with laughter and I died of shouting and screaming!

Evie Shaapveld
December 2019

Photography by Craig Sugden