29th November 2018
Type of Production
Author: Foster Johnson
After the trials and tribulations of staging their productions at alternative venues, whilst their "home" theatre was undergoing major refurbishment Jarrow MTC made a happy and very successful return to their spiritual performance space the newly named The Jarrow Hub. What a lovely new venue it has turned out to be with fine back stage and dressing room facilities and a performance area and front of house to be envied
Their performance of Rapunzel was a fitting and joyous way to mark a new period in the life of this go ahead Company. The exuberance and the quality of the performances that came from the cast and the happiness and fun they were obviously having was evident to see and transmitted itself to the audience, who themselves participated to the full.
The Pantomime was new to me and so I looked at it with an open mind and fresh eyes. It takes the usual storyline and theme like so many of good overcoming evil and to para phrase features a child stolen at a young age and imprisoned by an evil witch who uses the Childs tears to keep her young.whilst her golden hair is left to grow. She is eventually rescued by a Prince who is sent into the world by the King to prove his worth who does so by rescuing her from a door less tower by the use of her long tresses whilst vanquishing the evil witch with the help of a good fairy and the townsfolk.
Whilst a simple premise Pantomime productions are hard work and not an easy genre to to deliver.Jarrow are therefore blessed to have an excellent Production Team in the shape of Director Michelle Coulson, Musical Director Freda Carney and new Choreographer Kirsty Jeffrey who worked well together to deliver the final product. Michelle's direction was spot on,as usual, Freda's musical interpretation and the eclectic choice of music fitted every musical number whether solo or chorus, and Kirsty's choreography painted a lovely backdrop to these numbers.They were well supported by a good Stage Crew under the guidance of Darren Dyson and some fine costumes,sound and lighting.
As for the cast what a fine and effervescent lot they are. The Adult and Children's Ensembles happy and smiling faces shone across the footlights and their singing and dancing exuded a warmth and feeling of happiness to the audience.The Principals were also on form the night of my visit. Lucy McCabe(Rapunzel) and Hayden Taylor (Prince Frederick) were ideal together as the love lorn couple and I was particularly impressed by the musical duets they performed. Catherine Hymers was outstanding as Fairy Flora delivering her role in rhyming couplets throughout and in the style as Miranda Richardson as "Queenie" in Blackadder. Wonderful
It is important to establish a rapport with the pantomime audience to get them involved in the Show. Jarrow did this through the very talented hands of Lawrence Clark (Dame Trixie) David Bruce (Frankie) and Jilliane Reay Hindson (Witch Gothel) who have this latent ability. They used every ounce of this talent and panto trick in the book and it was great to see the kids in the audience respond to them with enthusiasm.
Other supporting roles came from Grayson Wood(King Geoffrey) Danielle Roche (Queen Gertrude)Luke Carr and Harry Devlin (Curly and Bob) Neil Hindson(Capt of the Guard) Phillip Spencer (Herald) and Mia Thompson,Hannah Purvis and Frances Wood ( Lacie,Macie and Gracie) three lovesick followers. I was impressed by all three's singing, acting and dancing.