Camelot: The Panto

Date 17th February 2020
Society Melksham Music and Drama
Venue Rachel Fowler Centre, Melksham
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Sue Fennell & Penelope Taylor
Choreographer Penelope Taylor & Justin Haggett
Producer Geoff Mitcham


Author: Dee Way

Productions in the Rachel Fowler Centre are always interesting because of the varied seating arrangements and the very intimate space created.  However, it must also be quite difficult to act and dance so close to the audience.  

The Direction met these challenges admirably.  There was an enormous sense of fun generated through the show, partly due to the creative delivery of the script and partly the pace, antics and enjoyment of the cast in performing.  The use of the two entrances at each end of the hall worked well in creating flow and variety.  The many elements of the show were very well handled. There was a very good sense of pace throughout the action and this speed was very effective in keeping the audience engaged.

The set of the castle, suggested by turrets, banners and arched doors, was very well done, while the boarded wall opposite was extremely inventive, as it hid two entrances, a fireplace and a roll-out bed!  The suggestion of the buildings and trees was good, as none of the action was hidden away.  The lack of major scene changes also helped to keep the action moving along well.

The sound and lighting were very good.  Cues were very accurate and there were some very nice lighting effects, spotlights and blackouts.  

The costumes were amazing!  The brightness of the show owed much to these costumes, and the wigs and makeup. These all served to make the characters larger than life and to add drama to the storyline.  I particularly liked the shrinking of Merlin and his costume, and the witches costumes. 

It was quite clear that the cast thoroughly enjoyed performing the show and were having great fun onstage.  The quick changes, the serious characters and the baddies were all played with gusto, while Arthur and Guinevere were suitably stately. Teddy was a lovely character, with very good body language so that her moods and feelings were very clear and sympathy inducing.  Valerin and his Mum were delightfully played as Mummy's boy and mother, while King Uther was struggling to keep order and Merlin was creating havoc!  The chase around the timber wall was very well done, with reversing directions - and room for Garlon - very well handled. 

All in all, this was a funny, well-paced production that flew along. Children in the audience were totally convinced as to the action and it was lovely to see their reactions responded to so well.  Congratulations on another lively and intimate show that was thoroughly appreciated!