NODA Award Winning Panto Group
Reydon and Southwold Pantomime Group; ‘Robinson Crusoe’. Fri 26th Jan 2018.
Southwold Arts Centre
Producer, Brenda Doy.
Choreographer, Dawn-Wenda Harvey.
MD, Tom Horton.
It’s panto time at Southwold and the whole Town seems to turn out for an annual treat at The Hall and judging by the advertisers in the programme all the businesses seem to want to be part of it…over 40 advertisers in the programme says it all!
The effective ‘Band’/combo (mostly king of the keyboard, MD Tom Horton), encourages the hand clapping audiences to join in with a catchy medley of sea songs, and the action begins with a well dressed scene of the ship the ‘Rub-a-Dub’ in harbour and we see Robinson fishing to supply fish for his Mothers café !
First Mate Armitage Shanks (Janet Court), was somebody taking the proverbial…!? the cool, Cornish I think, voice of calm before the storm… did her best seafarers accent intro only to be interrupted by the intrepid Captain Flannel (Christine Marriott), who with a manic zeal and actions to match puts her stamp on the proceedings…you have to love her even though she /he is completely bonkers! Robinson catches a fish which leads to the entrance of the best female Dame in the business as Dame Ribena Crusoe (Dawn-Wenda Harvey) makes her ebullient entrance and immediately takes command of the stage.
Hers is an outstanding performance throughout with comedic timing and use of audience reaction accompanied by extravagant costumes and make up. Her repartee with all around, on and off stage, is superb…she really is the star of the piece and of course has a soft spot for her son Robinson (Louise Harrison) who does his best to catch enough fish but his heart is not in it and the distraction of Princess Marina (Dawn Mickleburgh) turns his head to matters of the heart…he is smitten and on finding a bottle with a treasure map makes a decision to seek adventure and make his fortune, as his father before him had attempted before he disappeared… Here was a well portrayed Principle Boy who showed good command of the stage throughout. Although it was Dame Ribena who managed a thigh slap!
Now we are aware of a commotion offstage as Peg Leg Pete, Poop Deck Pat, Sid Scurvy and Rodney Rowlocks (Wendy McRoberts, Kirsty White, Sorrel Adams, and Teresa Hughes,) make their entrance and immediately create mayhem and madness as they do that, Pirate thing, “Aaahhrr”, and do their best to outdo each others seagoing prowess…even if there isn’t any!! Rodney had a nice posh reserve which made for a particularly running gag as he shows his ineptitude for a life on the ocean waves…much to the displeasure of Captain Silas Scarface (Ro Williams), who would “slit your gizzard” and have you “Scurvy dogs” walking the plank if you so much as blink an ‘eye, aye !!’ He was enough to shiver any ones timbers!
Man Friday (Sue Puddifoot) long lost but without a care in the world except for a close shave and of course Li-Lo Lily (Shelley Stevens), we loved her! Many other cameos with Mr G (Freya Mickleburgh), Sea Witch Ursula (Rhiane Terry), Island Wise Woman (Kay Mickleburgh) and a vibrant chorus of Townsfolk, Sailors and bewitching Island Girls with a happy band of Juniors to ‘swab the decks’ and generally add so much to the storyline…these parts can make or break a panto.
Once again a well constructed production with some new and younger faces all supported by the musical skills of a very proficient combo who never missed a beat! This is an annual treat for the folks in and around Southwold…make sure you tell your friends! And of course most of the profits go to charity…just maybe sometimes charity begins at home, and perhaps there is a need to build a ‘working’ fund for the future…keep up the good work!
Review by: Terry Rymer (NODA Rep East Dist 6)