Red Riding Hood

Date 23rd February 2024
Society Shavington Village Festival Committee
Venue Shavington Academy
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Rene Hancock & Rachel Hadzik
Musical Director Jenny Collis-Smith
Choreographer Angela Snell
Written By Norman Robbins


Author: Jake Powell

Shavington Village Festival Committee returned to the stage with their annual pantomime. This year was ‘Red Riding Hood’, directed by Rene Hancock and Rachel Hadzik. It was very much a traditional pantomime, with the pantomime rules being stuck to. The direction was secure, and everybody knew what they were doing. The ensemble members were always in character, reacting to what was happening on stage, but they never drew attention away from the action. The principal characters understood their roles and played into them well. The UV scene, which has become a tradition for Shavington Village Festival Committee, was spectacular. The puppets were beautifully constructed, especially the wolf. Huge congratulations to everyone that was involved with this scene. The set was good, with some great backdrops flown in for scenes, all designed in-house. Costumes were very good throughout, with lots of changes for the dame and blues and yellows for the ensemble.

The musical director was Jenny Collis-Smith who led the small band well throughout. There was a good variety of songs throughout, which the cast performed well.

The choreographer for ‘Red Riding Hood’ was Angela Snell. The choreography suited all ages on the stage and was delivered well by the cast.

The technical elements were good throughout. The video sequence of Grandma Merry doing a TikTok dance was funny, and brought the panto up to date. The lighting was good throughout, as was the sound balance between the cast and band. Everything could be heard.

Amelia Shackleton delivered a sweet performance as Belinda Merry, otherwise known as the titular Red Riding Hood. Amelia has a good vocal, and delivered her songs well. She worked well with the rest of the cast.

Shannon Vernon looked every inch the principal boy as Prince Edwin of Entertania. Shannon worked well with Jonathan, creating a good partnership. The partnership with Amelia did seem a bit forced however. Overall, it was a solid performance.

Eddie Bell donned the frock this year as Grandma Merry. Eddie was a kind and warm dame, and worked well with the cast. Some more interactions with the audience would have been great. Eddie’s duet with Jonathan was very funny and well performed.

Following on from his performance as the Giant last year, William Davies played Lupus Rex, the Wolf. William is showing a great knack for playing a strong pantomime baddie. Great diction throughout and a menacing laugh to boot.

Lisa Smith provided a good Woodland Fairy, guiding the audience through the pantomime. This was a lovely performance from Lisa who was able to showcase her vocals with the youth ensemble.

Jonathan Brett provided plenty of laughs as Bobby Shaftoe. He had the audience in the palm of his hand. The styling for the character was reminiscent of Patsy from ‘Spamalot’, which worked very well. As mentioned, the duet with Eddie was particularly funny.

Steve Bird took on the role of Sir Jasper de Vyle, providing another pantomime baddie. Steve relished every boo and had good interactions with the audience, involving them with the production, which is essential for a pantomime.

Connor Sumnall-Williams and Oscar Anderson created a good double act as Hustle and Bustle, Sir Jasper’s henchman. They both showed a good eye for comedy, especially in the kitchen scene. Just work on your diction – the audience want to hear every word!

Lesley Smith and Bobbie Blackman worked well together as Boy Blue and Bo Peep. They provided good supporting roles to the principal cast.

The ensemble, both adults and children, worked well throughout. All appeared confident in the songs and choreography, adding greatly to the scenes. Everyone was invested with what was happening on stage, staying in character.

Overall, this was a good production. The staging was very good, there were some great performances, and it was lovely to see a wide range of ages performing together.

A big thank you to everyone at Shavington Village Festival Committee for their kind invite and hospitality.