National Operatic & Dramatic Association
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18th January 2018


Old Buckenham Players


Old Buckenham Village Hall

Type of Production



Tom Key

Musical Director

Tom Key


Tom Key


Author: Sue DuPont

Congratulations to the group for reaching your 40th anniversary of village pantomime, and another sell-out.

After playing Abanaza in last year’s ‘Aladdin’, Tom Key changed hats and status, and undertook the entire production as director, played keyboard/computer as MD, and taught the steps as choreographer, and said he enjoyed the challenge (and it worked)!

A good traditional pantomime with a story-line that kept to the traditional tale which is one of pantomime originals (Stagescripts).

Once again very good colourful sets for the production, and colourful costumes so pleasing on the eye.  Must particularly applaud the maker of the goose costume which was flexible and able to offer so much expression and movement for Jennie Reavey as a delightful Priscilla, the goose-shape just right and the head really talked to us through her interpretation, a dream of a performance.

Very strong casting throughout in all roles: opening with a ‘learner’ Fairy Paxo from Jenny Devaux, a good personality to get us on her side, a kindness of spirit to charm and excellent delivery of all the rhymes, and although she struggled against two lots of bad/evil, she won through in style.  Against her in red with pitchfork, Fred Nash as Demon King raged and dominated the sinister side of the stage.

As the duo comedy/put-upon and tricked henchmen, Sam Mann as Sam and Maris McCann as Ella worked particularly well in tandem and fired each other in dialogue, actions and comedy with their mishaps, a good pair. And when joined by the Squire (under magic) that trio of ‘Three French Little Maids’ in song and costume, should really not have been allowed on stage even in the comedy stakes as it stopped the show with noisy appreciation! This sequence certainly added a new dimension.

Adding to the comedy with his absurd antics, huge energy, speedy dialogue and reactions to all involved, and with great audience inclusion and appeal, Zac Sowter as Billy Goose had the role so suited to him it was perfect for this pantomime. However the script left us wondering what happened to his goldfish that we guarded throughout the evening as they were left on the side of the stage even after the end of the performance, surely they should have been rescued?

The romantic side of the story from Jill Goose (Beth Robertson) and Jack Horner (Liz Taylor) very capably controlling the story with looks, style, voices and personalities.

Justice served with dignity by Queen of Gooseland, Pam Nash

In the ‘baddy’ more than evil role, Laurence Barnett had a great part to act out his badness and cunning and manipulation of other members of the cast in his quest to gain the goose and the golden eggs, definitely the Squire was a coveted role to act, relish, and dominate, not a person to like and we booed enthusiastically.

In the title role, Chris Morter was in his element with the dress and pink wig and a fat suit (hence the weight loss in the magic pool, a clever move). Interaction with all the cast, comedy timing especially, a good Dame performance in solid traditional style perfect for this story.

An enthusiastic support cast in the big company numbers, good volume for vocals and well drilled movement at good pace, must have been enjoyed by all on stage.

And finally must commend the design of the programme cover from Maris McCann with that delightful portrayal of Priscilla and her egg, loved the expression on her face!