THE ULTIMATE PIRATE PANTO REVIEW
DATE - 25th January 2020
SOCIETY- Curtain Call Theatre Group
VENUE - Village Hall, Eaton Bray
TYPE OF PRODUCTION -Pantomime
DIRECTOR - Gavyn Lugsden
CHOREOGRAPHER - Kaytie Allen
Author: NOVA HORLEY
The writer, Gavyn Lugsden, once again gave us a very funny script, delivered well by his small but engaged cast. A bit risqué at times, but the adults in the audience were very appreciative, and the ‘pianist’ reference was exceedingly funny! The premise of the story was a Pirate Captain and his Mate going in search of buried treasure, having press-ganged a motley crew of sailors to man the ship.
Technically this was extremely good. The use of projections via screens at the front and back of the stage, gave plenty of scope to bring the production to life without using backcloths and expensive scenery. I loved the skull and crossbones featured on the front cloth at the start of the production, and the talking skull giving the health and safety instructions was excellent. So refreshing to see a new take on this boring, but essential part of a production, leading into stirring music to get the production off to a good start.
The cruise safety briefing before the ship set sale was also very funny, if a little long!
I thought the performance I saw lacked a bit of pace. The youngsters all had solo lines which they delivered well, however I would have liked to have seen their lib mic’d, as we couldn’t always hear them – there was a noticeable difference between the volume of the principals and the ensemble.
Costumes were colourful and suitable – nothing stood out as unsuitable for either the wearer or the feel of the piece.
Good effects throughout, I particularly loved the dustbin/naval cannons – the smoke rings projected over the audience showing clearly through the lighting was inspired. As always the use of gobos on the side walls and floor added to the general appeal.
Choreography was well achieved, and the cast appeared to enjoy what they did.
Captain Crabs gave Jamie Staton the chance to be a little bit evil, I liked his portrayal and interaction with the audience, he also created good relationships with the cast. Very well done.
Gavyn Lugsden not only wrote, directed and undertook many other aspects of the pantomime, but also played Seaweed, the Captain’s Mate, a great character, and Gavyn extracted every bit of fun and humour he could from the part, plenty of old jokes and lots of more modern references. Excellent.
Polly, the Dame, was played by Richard March, who gave an energetic performance. I loved his Union Flag dress, and he wore his wigs and costumes with aplomb. He had the essence of a traditional Dame well. I enjoyed his portrayal.
Lily Walsh played Lucy with self-possession, her first song was a little quiet, but her song with Yo-Ho was good. I liked her expressive face and energy.
Hannah Garnham was a confident Yo-Ho, singing with assurance, again would have liked a little more volume at times in her lib, but altogether another good performance.
Kara March was Molly, a small part which she attacked with gusto, whilst managing to keep an eye on the youngsters. A shame we weren’t able to hear her song in the finale properly, sound balance throughout was a little suspect, the backing tracks were in the main too loud.
The Mayor was played with due solemnity by Bob Stilliard, loved his cloak.
Sophie Harding (Ahoy), Drew March (Holly), Charlotte Sellars (Dolly), Rosie Heaney (Pieces O Eight), Alex Sherwood (Pull-the-Anchor) and Emily Long (Jim Lad), all created good characters, delivered their lines well and got really involved with the plot – nicely achieved.
Dexter Fountain (Pretty Boy) played the part well, I enjoyed the portrayal, and little Heidi Lugsden (White Beard) was so cute and really engaged with the action.
The audience participation song was good, we all had a lot of fun with it, and the finale was lovely, with inventive projection.
All in all a good afternoon’s entertainment, we enjoyed ourselves and appreciated the performances and technical expertise.