Puss in Boots

Date 13th December 2012
Society Salford Musical Theatre Company
Venue The Little Shakespeare Theatre, Eccles
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Mike Clarke
Musical Director Ed Nurse
Choreographer Maz Massey & Brenda Norton


Author: Pete Astbury

This was my first visit to Salford at their new home at The Little Shakespeare Theatre.  I have seen previous productions staged by this society, most of them at the Lowry.  I am also aware of some of the hurdles that this society has had to overcome recently and the group should be congratulated on a first class pantomime.

The stage at this venue is very small and the group had used rostra to extend out to give a larger playing area for the large cast.  The lighting was good and the sound was well balanced throughout.  The sets were simple, by necessity on the small stage, but the group made up for this in excellent audience involvement throughout and lively colourful characters who kept the pace moving.  Music for the lively production numbers was provided by Ed Nurse the MD and a fine job he made of it too.

So to the cast; the part of Tom was very ably delivered by Shaun Kane, who demonstrated an understanding of panto beyond his years.  His love interest Princess Belle was also very well delivered by Maz Massey, with some nice singing, particularly the duets the two of them performed.  The King & Queen were nicely played by Clive Hughes and Wendy Littler with some good comedy banter between them.  The comedy duo, Pimple & Boyle, played by Amy Ness and Dave Cox worked very well together and were very entertaining.  There were more baddies in this production than you could shake a stick at, the scheming Chamberlain well played by Chris Nicholson, the Cat Catcher played very ably by Dave Lawrence tormenting the audience perfectly and the bad tempered Ogre brought to life by Jason Steele, with a very popular dance routine in Act 2!

Act 2 also introduced a second comedy duo, country bumpkins George & Ted played with great humour by director Mike Clarke and Vicky Milner.  Peter Ness delivered a memorable dame in the part of the Matron, with just the right amount of charm & innuendo.  Another revelation was young Bayley Gibson-Leeming who played the Deputy Matron, with great character and comic timing, well done!

Rachel Clarke was absolutely on form as Puss, in character the whole way through and lovely diction.  Other chorus members took on some of the minor roles and all played their individual parts well, especially the kids, with lots of energy and smiles all the way through!

If a show can be judged from the audience reaction then Salford’s Puss in Boots was a resounding success with great audience participation.  Personally, I very much enjoyed the evening’s entertainment so well done Salford and keep up the good work!