|Date||19th February 2022|
|Society||Nottingham West Music & Drama Society|
|Venue||New Horizon Church, Langley Mill|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Musical Director||Martin Belcher|
|Choreographers||Julie Castledine, Jane Clarke & Rae Scudder|
Author: Martin Holtom
You can’t beat a great pantomime to raise your spirits and after the last two years of lockdown, it was a pleasure to get out of the house to see a very accomplished pantomime delivered with plenty of energy and enthusiasm.
I am often disappointed when a pantomime reverts to a backing track for the musical numbers and was therefore delighted to see and hear the 7-piece band supporting all the musical numbers and demonstrating, through their interaction with the cast at various points, why musicians are usually kept in a pit.
The New Horizon Church is of course not a purpose-built Theatre and the NOWMADS team have done a very good job to ensure that the venue was used to maximum in this production. The pace was kept up through excellent lighting and use of projections, together with a small number of key props for the Castle and Penny Perm’s hairdressing Salon.
The cast clearly were enjoying themselves throughout the performance and this enjoyment was certainly shared by the audience thanks to the well-judged interactions from all of the cast. Coming from South Yorkshire, I was thoroughly entertained by the Comedy duo of Hannah Chamberlain and Jack Kendall. They didn’t put a foot wrong in judging their audience or the material and Hannah did very well not to corpse in the hairdressing scene as the water cascading down her from above was obviously very cold!
The comedy element of the show was also driven by Danny De Martino who clearly was revelling in the opportunity to go “big” in his performance of a “Local Humble Good-Looking lad” as did Haydn Taylor as the quintessential Dame - Penny Perm. Haydn and Danny both kept on the right side of larger-than-life characterisation and taste with any slightly blue material being left to the imagination, just as it should be..
Nicole Horsley was the perfect Princess Rapunzel who clearly captivated many young princesses in the audience who often approached the stage to get closer to their idol. Kathy Taylor and Richard Harvey as King and Queen Curly clearly resonated with the long-married couples in the audience and the running, “always being interrupted by my wife”, classic Panto gag landed well. Kelly Henderson and Suzanne Heydon were a great sparring pair of Good and Evil Fairies being very believable. They certainly won the attention of their audience judging by the cheers and boos at appropriate points of the show.
Rob Waddington-Taylor provided great support with his evil-turned-good Dragon and, for me, one of the most engaging performances of the production was from Laura Collins as Britney Spurs. Laura delivered a very novel horse/diva fusion which was judged superbly and sympathetically which meant that she supported rather than stole her scenes.
This was a very enjoyable production with Principals and Chorus all adding to the mix in the simple setting and sympathetic lighting, sound and costuming. Emma, Martin and the Chorography team should be suitably proud and the final image in my head of “Proud Mary” being danced with huge energy within an inch of my seat will stay with me for some time.