Beauty and the Beast

Date 15th December 2017
Society Inkberrow Players
Venue Inkberrow Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director David Goode
Musical Director Margaret Ballard
Choreographer Helena Mitchell

Report

Author: Andy Brown

Pantomime season is a real opportunity to encourage audiences of all ages to come along and join in the fun. In addition, when set in a village hall it’s an opportunity to involve the local community while not excluding people from wider afield due to too many in jokes. This production under the direction of David Goode managed to achieve this.

The story of Beauty and the Beast is now widely known due to recent major film releases. Nevertheless, this script managed to incorporate many of the traditional pantomime routines. Although they can be corny they are however expected such as the usual ghost scene with plenty of ‘Behind you’.

As soon as the opening number was complete we got to meet Flex – a poodle played by Malcolm McGillivray. Played with great confidence who whenever he did not like what humans wanted him to do would spin round wanting the audience to shout, ‘Poodle Power’. McGillivray worked well with each of the other characters he encountered but none more so than Ma the panto dame. Ma played by Ian James was an excellent dame in mannerisms. These two characters were a delight during the scene when Ma was out searching for Beauty with Flex describing the actions the dame was taking trudging her way around the stage. They were well supported throughout the whole performance by Gary Clubley as Jacques and Sarah Young as Capucine.

The set was exceptional especially considering the small space available on stage. Congratulations to all who assisted in making this. In addition, congratulations for making ‘costumes’ for the items of furniture in the bedroom there were all effective such as the table, picture frame and talking clock. Special mention for the standard lamp ‘costume’ with functional lights even if the actor did have occasional problems getting on and off stage while walking sideways.  Each of the characters in these scenes worked hard to convince us they were an item of furniture or another object.  The use of snow machines added to the realism portrayed in this production.       

In the hall of mirrors scene, we saw a host of home made mirrors. These were set by the crew. Unfortunately, one of the mirror stands was seen to break while setting it.  This was taken off stage only to reappear once repaired and immediately broken again so once again remove. The line about ‘So many mirrors’ was although un intention extremely funny as there was one less!       

The baddie or Malabelle was superbly played by Barbara Clubley who as tradition states always entered stage left. She was suitably evil and swept on and off stage with great feeling encouraging plenty of booing. Luckily for us all good won the day and even the baddie had a happy ending.    

Tim Cole as The Beast played the character well in his attempt to have someone fall in love with him to break the spell. There were some tender moments in amongst the frustration. 

The chorus worked well together and delivered some good musical numbers such as ‘Come follow the Band’ from Barnum. By and large the main characters, other than Beauty played by Bethany Neale and Prince Christophe played by Holly Stallard, were not the greatest singers in the world. But this did not detract from the panto and Bethany and Holly sang suitably sweetly to each other.   

The costumes were good and of a high standard which made the whole production come to life.

The choreography for such a limited space was good and worked well including dancers from Jump Dance Academy.

I look forward to future production performed by Inkberrow Players. Well done on the performance and thank you for your hospitality.