Date 10th February 2024
Society Coquetdale Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue Rothbury Jubilee Memorial Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director John Mawer
Musical Director Stella Deckers Coulter
Producer CADS
Written By John Mawer


Author: Ken Allan

It was a pleasure to be invited to this production, in the beautiful town of my birth, in order to cover for my colleague Sue Wood, who was appearing in the show as the Giant’s Wife.

C.A.D.S. is a superb community group who always put their heart and soul into their pantos; and this was no different. It is a tremendous team effort and one look at the programme tells you just how huge the ‘team’ is.

I have seen Jack and the Beanstalk four times this season, but never have I seen one as zany and ‘off the wall’ as this. Author and Director John Mawer is to be congratulated first, for his imaginative and quirky writing, with about seventeen story threads going on all at once. Also the comedic use of local humour and dialect; poking fun at the parish and area dignitaries, the Government, farming life and the state of the local roadworks (more on that later!) at least. Second, for his directional skills. He comes from a background of progressive theatre and improv., which is easy to see, as you can tell how much the cast enjoy being on stage in his productions. He also immerses himself in portraying several parts as part of the action. This year as the Giant, Wedgie the cheese man, and a very funny knock-about morris dancer (sorry if this doesn’t make sense!).

The on-stage group of 30 performers were extremely talented; each one, - with very few exceptions, playing several parts; as well as, in the main, being part of the off-stage group too. This is what family panto is all about.

The main principals were all very good, with Kirsty and Robert Famelton as Jack and his Mother. Jack’s sisters; Rosie, Posie and Warhammer were excellent – well done Paige, Amelie and Xanthe. I could go on to mention all of the named personnae, but that would take forever, so I won’t…. with one exception; Betsy Burston is going to be a big star !. She was exceptional as the BG Corporation Salesperson and for one so young to be totally ‘at home’ with some very difficult and comedic dialogue was extremely impressive… congratulations Betsy, and well done to all of the other supporting actors..

The music was well thought out and well performed. Many congratulations to Stella Deckers Coulter our ‘one-man band’, also to John Mawer for the additional lyrics to most of the numbers.

The production was suitably enhanced by the support and technical teams, with some superb lighting and sound effects, colourful scenery and fantastic props, great costumes and makeup. Backed up by a superb front of house crew.

My companion Pauleen and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this lovely, friendly group; long may they continue to thrive. Thanks to the whole ‘Team’ of over 60 for your sterling efforts. We were just ‘blown away’.

Finally, thanks for the invitation. We look forward to our next visit, - here’s hoping the roadworks are completed by then !!!.