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Frankenstein the Pantomime

Date

20th January 2018

Society

Lancing Repertory Players

Venue

Lancing Parish Hall

Type of Production

Pantomime

Director

Linsay Oliver

Musical Director

James Aylward

Choreographer

Linsay Oliver

Report

Author: jose Harrison

This was called “Frankenstein the Family Pantomime” and Lancing’s production fulfilled this name.  From the very start this society captured the audience’s attention with a very clever set, excellent choice of songs well performed by an eight piece band, accurately timed sound effects (Ian Black), very inventive and atmospheric lighting (Julian Peach) and remarkable make-up (George Lake). The cast choreography by Linsay and some exciting dancing by girls of The Hollis School of Dance and Drama added a good dimension to this modern pantomime. Their interpretation of “Money Makes the World Go Round”, “Flash Bang Wallop” and “Um Pa Pa” were guaranteed to get the audience joining in. The really interesting use of a box shaped set sitting in the middle of the stage, which opened out, the inside having been changed with different props for each different scene, revealing Pumpernickel’s Taverna, Professor Crackpot’s Laboratory and Dracula’s Castle.  My favourite scene was the laboratory where Frankenstein was ‘born’ the handiwork of the professor, Phil Martin, who operated on Frankie behind a screen, with back lighting, to quite brilliant effect.

Despite being a very modern idea this production had all the traditional panto ingredients, a principal boy and girl, a couple of baddies, a dame and a cast full of enthusiasm. Oppressed in true Cinderella-style by the money-grabbing Herr and Frau Pumpernickle, Linsay and Mark Oliver, we had a strong performance from Kellie Aylward as orphan Heidi.  Enter the Prince Jamie Crow in confident stance and Heidi was love-struck. Unfortunately for Heidi, Miss Nelly, Karen Franklin, turned up with a gaggle of St Trinian-style school girls that no self respecting prince or vampire would have gone near. These young ladies Louise Woolard, Mercedes Cook, Carolyn Cumber, Kim Martin and particularly Jenny Thompson, were set on creating havoc, which they did with great enthusiasm.  Mayhem ensued particularly when the mad Professor Crackpot literally exploded from behind the laboratory door. Add to this a couple of baddies, Carol Clark as Granula and Stevie Lambert as Count Dracula, determined to have their share of blood from the young ladies.  Then add a couple of ‘nice guys’ Ruben Pol as Frankie and Derek Ost as Buckles and Steven Knopf as Kodak, the most endearing dog and you are home and dry with an excellent production well written and well performed.

There was a huge amount of unsolicited audience participation and not just from the youngsters, just proving that most of us are still kids at heart.