Puss in Boots
12th January 2018
Walkerville community centre
Type of Production
Helen Wilson/Christine Hully
Author: R J Lowry
You don’t see as many productions of Puss in Boots as you do the favourites such as Jack and the Beanstalk. The story is a little thin, tends to be wordy and is short. But Walkerville Musical Society’s 2018 production of Leonard Caddy’s version bucks the trend showing you don’t have to have big, spectacular productions to capture the imagination and deliver a thoroughly entertaining pantomime.
Also, the more familiar songs the show features are a pleasure (for example “happiness” and “colour my world”) and demonstrate that tuneful favourites can outshine the latest chart toppers beloved of some companies.
The production makes the most of the community hall venue, packing in a large cast, hand-painted scenery cloths and a versatile band. The cast deftly use the venue to enter and exit with the necessary drama and excitement. The troupe is very pleasing to watch: they sing well and their voices deliver songs and dialogue with clarity and volume (well done the sound engineers, sometimes unfairly criticised). The principals’ individual performances are distinct and entertaining, full of characterisation (even the modest solo parts are delivered with appeal).
Of course the Dame (Hermione performed by Alan Tomkins) is the linchpin part and it is well cast and played (with more than a nod to Les Dawson); Tripp (David Parrack) makes a strong impression in contrast to Chancellor Dullbody whom Ken Richardson underplays with engaging results. Good (Fairy Aurora acted by Helen Richardson) and Bad (Chris Hamilton’s Ogre Hardcast) make a nice contrast with their yin and yang perfectly matched. Lisa Givens’ Puss in Boots is one of the best I have seen and the principal boy and girl (Katy Mcmillan and Sharon Gauld) gelled well. Yes, it’s a welcome outing for a lesser-known tale well put on by a wholehearted team.