CALAMITY JANE THE PANTO
20th January 2018
Horning Village Hall
Type of Production
Author: Sue DuPont
A Limelight Script of a non-traditional pantomime (partly based on the musical), and I have to say that I go with traditional stories but I can understand why chosen with the multitude of parts covering Calamity Jane and the Golden Garter, the Mexicans in their quest, the two groups of Indians with differing ideas, and all for the treasure map, certainly lots of opportunities for a large cast.
Involvement with the audience from the very opening as Geronimo and his Indians came down the aisle and encouraged the war cry as they plotted for riches. And this entrance with gang gave David Ivins the opportunity for us to enjoy ‘This is the moment’.
Into the Golden Garter, good colourful set, and meeting up with the Milky Bar Kid (Richard Baines) who again involved the audience throughout the proceedings, and survived the custard pie sequence to the joy of younger audience. A typical western style singing and dialogue and set-up with Old Timer, Candy Barr and Sheriff (very wimpish) until the big entrance of Calamity Jane, Pam Facey ( in the ‘dame role’), obviously well-known to the audience and good reception and big personality. The two ‘ladies’ Angelina and Jolie (Judi Ingram and Sylvia Frost), as the double act, made their presence known with their timing and comedy moments, but I have to say that the jokes were in short supply in this script.
An extra involvement and to add to confusion in the plot, were the Mexicans led by Scott Meacock as El Gwapo with his team Dolores, Manuela, and Julio, filled with energy and volume and the second plot of kidnap, not necessarily of the right girl, but it worked out in the end.
Robin Baines made a splendid Chief Talking Bull with his endorsement of modernising the Indian traditions towards pizza and KFC which did not go down well with all. And his daughter Pocahontas (Michelle Lake) made a delightful principal girl with her ‘Secret Love’, and general help in the plot. Enter the hero Clint Westwood (Emma Galley) with voice, long legs, and stylish presence to rescue the situation, resolve the kidnapping and gain treasure map, and generally bring all to a happy and tuneful conclusion.
Chorus worked hard in the big numbers and movement, loved those two tiny girls at the front who knew all the words and actions and performed with energy.
And as in most pantomimes, the star on stage had to be Lightning the Horse!