Humpty Dumpty

Date 15th January 2016
Society Caprian Theatre Company
Venue Dryden Centre, Gateshead
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Jeff Waites
Musical Director Enid Stafford
Choreographer Cheryl Hewitt


Author: Gordon Richardson

In his programme notes, Jeff Waites, the director and author of this pantomime, remarked that Humpty Dumpty was his personal favourite of all the pantos he’d written.  Based on this performance I would have to concur. It was my first experience of seeing the classic tale brought to life on stage, and it was a memorable treat with all the classic ingredients of panto.

The King and Queen of Hearts (Russell Rafferty and Pam Dias) were ideally suited and well-acted as the hen-pecked, rather vague King and his domineering assertive Queen. Their two children, the Prince and Princess of Hearts (Charlotte Black and Amy Beckford) were well set up as love interests to Jill Dumpty and Humpty Dumpty respectively.  The roles of Jill and Humpty were played by Helen McKenry and Steve Nichol, and all four of these younger actors played their roles to the max, Steve in particular milking the whole audience’s reaction despite the fact that the vast majority of the children in the audience were situated Stage Left leaving a more reticent SR the evening I was there.
Court Advisor, Merlin, was played with suitable pomposity by Simon Devlin, and a contrast to his role in the second act as Molock, a somewhat scatty wizard of the wood.

Like all good panto’s the good versus evil battle was played out, in this case, by the Snow Queen and the Wicked Witch – roles well filled by Lindsay Kellegher and Kim Robinson respectively.
The ‘Dame’ role of ‘Daphne Dumpty’ was expertly filled by Kevin Riley sounding very like Paul O’Grady’s alter ego – Lily Savage.  Kevin had the right blend of steely determination melded with a gentle empathy throughout.  Making up the final ingredient of panto were two ‘daft lads’ – these roles were expertly filled by Sam Monkhouse and Daniel Fenwick as Tweedle-Dim and Tweedle-Dum, the Court (“I’m too young to Die”) Jesters. Sam and Daniel’s slapstick routines had the audience in stitches throughout.

Catchy music directed and played from the piano by Enid enhanced but didn’t overpower the production. The dancers, choreographed by Cheryl, were superb, and an ensemble of townsfolk, guards and children and ‘Monster’ (Colin Gray) added to what was already a fine example of the panto art.

Well Done Caprian’s see you at the ‘Ballad of Dr Crippen’ in May.