Jack and the Beanstalk
2nd November 2018
Dragon Tale Theatre Group
Highfield Middle School
Author: Kathryn Curry
How do you transform a ‘Gym’ in a school into a magical theatre for a pantomime……go and see a ‘Dragon Tale Theatre Group’ production and you will be amazed at what they can achieve. This company with this basic venue to perform in are to be highly commended for their versatility in achieving such a high standard of entertainment for their community. The whole show from beginning to end was a credit to them. It was so lovely to see a community company come together to create entertainment for their audience and all done by themselves. The company were fully responsible for costumes, props and scenery. The scenery and set were superb and to transfer this gym into such a convincible stage for working on must have been no mean feat. In particular I thought the back cloths were excellent. The whole show flowed effortlessly and the musical ensemble under the lively baton of ‘Musical Director’ Doug Younger was a real treat to listen to and they complimented the action on the stage at every opportunity. Sound and Lighting was perfect and created atmosphere in all the scenes. Well done to all backstage and all involved in creating this pantomime setting.
The chorus were entertaining and fully engaged in supporting the principals on stage. Lots of hard work to get so many people moving and grooving together was evident and in particular the involvement of the children and their enthusiasm added an extra dimension. With what appeared no wings, or backstage stage space entrances and exits flowed well and with a limited curtain drop to mask scene changes. Stage manager Marianne Nesbit and her crew produced scene after scene effortlessly from the audience point of view.
The large cast all had named parts, too many to mention individually but they competently supported the main line up of characters with ‘King’ (Ray Moore) and ‘Queen’ (Abi Neal) ably leading the principals with strong performances. ‘Fairy Beansprout’ and ‘Fairy Cabbagepatch’ respectively Wendy Neil and Charlie Downing kept the thread of the story together and both worked well with each other giving polished performances. ‘Buttercup’ (Ian Downing) the cow was a lovely little touch, moving away from the traditional cow and the little ones in the audience loved her. Tahnya Tupil-Maughan had a lovely cameo role as the ‘Housekeeper’ and she sang well when she led the chorus in the castle, nice to see minor roles well attempted. ‘Princess Rose’ (Fiona Henderson) and ‘Jack’ (Sammii Macbeth) were well matched and looked good together. This talented duo was very natural and competent on stage. Sammii showed exceptional stage presence in her acting and movement and sang well in all her songs. ‘Prime Minister’ (Neil Wilkin) was hilarious; milking his role to the full and the audience loved his humour, a skilled and confident performer. The baddy ‘Flash Creep’ played by Vicki Wilkin added a real dimension to the plot. She really played the evil part to perfection and is a very talented lady. Her singing and acting were extremely believable and her make-up and costume were second to none.
The comedy duo of ‘Dame Trott’ (Alex Neil) and ‘Dozy Den’ (Ben Orrock) were brilliant and were such fun to watch. They engaged the audience at every opportunity and their characters were well defined. Alex was a natural as a dame and gave a slick, polished and mature performance. It’s not often I single people out in such a special way but the energy and precision Ben brought to playing the character of ‘Dozy Den’ was simply amazing. What a talented comic Ben is; he kept the show together with boundless energy and enthusiasm, bringing all the necessary skills to the stage to cause havoc and fun. He displayed an obvious love for performing and engaging the audience and it was obvious that he has a very bright future ahead of him.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of entertainment presented by this wonderful society who continue to strive, whilst amateur performers to give performances of professionals. Their lovely community spirit makes them quite unique and I wish them every success in their 20th Anniversary Year of Pantomime.