|Date||14th January 2022|
|Society||Whitley Bay Pantomime Society|
|Venue||Playhouse Whitley Bay|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Director||Stephen Linsdell Bell|
|Musical Director||Andrew Clarence|
Author: Ken Allan
It has been a long time since we last saw Whitley Bay Pantomime Society…. Two years, to be exact. BUT… it was worth waiting for !.
From the moment Andrew Clarence’s ensemble struck up the first note, it was obvious what this exceptionally talented Group was going to do… to thoroughly entertain its audience. AND… they did and we were… in spades !.
The magic of the best-loved Pantomime CINDERELLA is undeniable, and the expectation of the audience to witness this was, before the first curtain, almost palpable. Our expectations were rewarded in due course with a spectacular transformation sequence at the finale of Act 1, including a real live Shetland pony and a sparkling coach. However, this wasn’t the only piece of ‘magic’, as the whole show was fabulous.
The talented cast; under the direction of Stephen (Superman) Linsdell-Bell, were all very well drilled and showed their prowess in their superb characterisations and fine singing. I have to make special mention of Joanna Barrett as FAIRY GODMOTHER, newcomer Victoria Hemsley in the title role of CINDERELLA, her love interest PRINCE CHARMING - charmingly played by Sabrina Lyall and Davie Linsdell, in the role of BUTTONS or Velcro, as he was often referred to, kept us all involved with the comedy of the piece. A tour-de-force from both Stephen Linsdell-Bell as VERONICA and Mark Robinson as VERRUCA were loud, raucous and suitably nasty ugly sisters. The supporting roles of BARON HARDUP – Brian Bell, and DANDINI – Bethany Morris were very well played. The best thing was… they all enjoyed themselves; hence; so did we !.
The extremely impressive scenery and backcloths by Scenic Projects provided a very colourful vista, and were well stage managed by Jean Hall and her crew. Added to that, the lighting design and special effects by Mark Turner of Brightstar and sound plot by Jonathan Mellor of Tyne Audio were first class.
Musical Director Andrew Clarence and his five-piece band, presented the musical score with their undoubted professionality. As usual, a pleasure to listen to, albeit in some places very loud….!.
Julie Cockburn; the Choreographer (who was presented with a 45-year NODA Long Service Award) must have been delighted with the results of her obvious hard work. Her chorus and tots, junior and senior dancers excelled in all the aspects of their art. Their movement complimented the production considerably.
The equally sumptuous and colourful costumes and makeup by the in-house team and Seaton Delaval Arts Centre also enhanced the visual effect of the show.
After the final curtain it was good to be invited to meet the cast and crew at the front of the orchestra pit. (The stage being out of bounds for us.) Accompanied by Past President Fred Piggford, Regional Councillor Peter Oliver and National President Gordon Richardson, we were all lucky to witness the presentation of many NODA Long Service Awards and to be able to thank all personally involved in this traditional family pantomime.
This was a monumental effort to get back to what we all love to call our hobby. The wretched pandemic has been profound and has had its detrimental effect on this group. They all deserve medals for their achievement.
Many thanks for the invitation and the hospitality. We look forward to 2023 and GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS.