Camelot-The Pantomime

Date 29th February 2020
Society Ingleton Theatre Group
Venue Ingleton Community Centre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Liz Cartmell
Musical Director Nick Wilson
Choreographer Ellie Brown

Report

Author: Martin Craig

Having never seen (or even heard of) Camelot the Panto, I was intrigued as to how the story would unfold in this version. As far as the plot goes, the Camelot towspeople await the arrival of Guinevere, who is betrothed to the King’s (King Uther) son, Arthur. As with every panto story of this ilk, the course of arranged marriages never did run smooth - Morgan Le Fay plots to kidnap Guinevere and imprison her in the castle in an enchanted forest, preventing her from marrying Arthur, instead marrying Valerin, the Vicious. Valerin is convinced that he is entitled to Guinevere`s hand in marriage by a “magic” scroll, produced by Morgan Le Fay and although nobody remembers this (even Valerin`s mum) they set off to do Morgan`s bidding in order for him to marry her. Throw in a dame, a wizard, some knights (including an invisible one), love potions, the elixir of life, talking time-pieces and a large walking, miming teddy bear and you have Camelot, the Pantomime.

The roles of King Uther, the hapless Prince Arthur (yet to be “King” Arthur, of course), and Guinevere were confidently played by Beth Lowe (with ever changing facial hair), Jake Tatham and Melanie Edgar, all keeping the pace of the piece going throughout.

Most of the comedy and audience participation came from Arthur’s friend, Sir Laughalot and the dame, Nurse Connie Clatterbottom, played by Ralph Sullivan and David Sharrod. Whilst there was no real slapstick as such, the two kept the audience suitably involved. Sir Laughalot worked well with Laraine Sullivan’s Nell as a supporting duo, as did Karen Allsopp’s miming Teddy to Nurse Connie.

Chris Beesley and Shelagh Fagan took on the roles of Valerin, the Vicious and Valerin`s Mother. The mother was well played and came over as a little loopy, which I`m sure was the intention, though I wasn`t convinced as to whether Valerin is supposed to be as Vicious as the name implies or not - I thought so much more could be made of the audience interaction, although it could just be that Emily Coates`s Morgan Le Fay was so deliciously wicked and OTT that her reaction from the audience overshadowed all that was happening around her. Her Nemesis, the absent-minded Merlin, was well portrayed by Carl Lis and Elizabeth Swainson (after finding the Elixer of life).

All other roles were undertaken with gusto - including Mark Faraday’s Marlon, Gillian Denby’s Bishop and the Knights played by Paul Berry, Barry Cascarino, Tony Durham and John Emsley to name but a few.

All chorus numbers were well executed, working to backing tracks with everyone singing along - nice to see that all knew the words and most smiling and enjoying themselves.

The staging was simple - cloths and flats with larger props, depending upon the scene. Once again, the cloths and flats were excellent - designed and painted by Maureen Tomlinson and team. The haunted bedroom scene in fluorescent lighting was brilliantly executed. Ingleton really spend time on these and it shows.

Choreography by Ellie Brown was simple and effective keeping everyone moving through the numbers.

Music, credited to Nick Wilson , was provided by backing track and percussionist who throughout played an integral role.

Director Liz Cartmell obviously had worked hard with the group on this panto and the proof was up there to see, with audience and performers alike enjoying themselves.

Thank you, Ingleton Theatre Group, for your invitation and your hospitality.