Robinson Crusoe and the Adventures of Skull Island

Date 26th February 2022
Society Shavington Village Festival Committee
Venue Shavington Academy
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Rene Hancock
Musical Director Jenny Collis-Smith
Choreographer Angela Snell
Written By Barry Crossley


Author: Joe Clarke

I was delighted to return to the wonderful Shavington Community this week for their brilliant 2022 Pantomime of Robinson Crusoe and the Adventures of Skull Island by Barry Crossley. Although set traditionally, this pantomime is an amalgamation between the traditional tale and a modern Pantomime with bright and garish panto Dame costumes etc. Directed by Rene Hancock, this production had everything for their audiences, who were thoroughly entertained throughout. I have to say, visually, this production was excellent! The use of costumes was particularly very good, and I could tell that a lot of hard work and dedication has gone into this area. I particularly loved the attention to detail from the Magical Mermaid’s headdress down to the coloured neckties of the sailors! Equally, the props were outstanding! A huge well done to the props and costume teams for your obvious hard work!  The set was fab too and used very well throughout. I liked how the upper stage area was used to add levels and the added set pieces for the ship and the native camp areas really helped add another layer to scenes. The fantastic back clothes help establish location and were used brilliantly in scene changes which helped keep up the pace etc. One of the best things about this panto was the brilliantly funny script! I cannot explain how funny this script was and I would thoroughly recommend it to any society out there! The added lines about local locations was suitably funny, and the added modern songs were very well appreciated. All in all, this production was thoroughly entertaining and one of the best pantomimes that I’ve seen from this fully inclusive society. Well done on an entertaining night at the theatre!

The musical director for this production was Jenny Collis-Smith. I really enjoyed the added modern songs throughout this piece – which really lends itself to the script and plot. The added (lovely) harmonies added layers to songs and the cast were very well rehearsed. There were a few slight timing issues with the band, but I doubt any of the audience noticed this. Overall, the band and songs helped add another layer to this production.

Angela Snell was the choreographer (and Assistant Director) for this production. I liked to varying styles we had throughout, such as modern, ballet, tap and musical theatre. Whilst its hard to display any outstanding choreographic elements due to the lack of space on the stage, the choreography used as effective enough. I also loved the fact that generations of families were dancing together onstage, regardless of age or ability, a true sense of community!

The lighting was really good and helped add to the tension and tone of scenes and helped establish locations. I liked the use of the uplighters on the front proscenium arch and there was a good use of gobo’s, coloured gels and video screen and follow spots to aid the plot etc.  All music cues and sound effects were great. There was the odd mic that wasn’t cued on time but I’m being very picky here.

Production values were high in this show with each coming together to create an audio and visual treat for the eyes and ears!

Cast wise, there are far too many characters for me to mention in great details other than the main cast. Suffice to say, I found myself watching the vast chorus throughout and they were all in character and all playing their part!

The protagonist, Robinson Crusoe was brilliantly played by Megan Goode. Megan was very well cast in this role and had all the characteristics you expect from this role. Megan’s storytelling was great, and she showcased her beautiful singing throughout! I particularly loved her version of ‘The Reason’, which showcased beautiful harmonies!

Mrs Crusoe – the Panto Dame, was played by Eddie Bell. I have to admit that I didn’t automatically warm to the character initially, however, in the second act, I really enjoyed Eddie’s performance a lot more. Eddie was suitably funny and entertaining and had a great rapport with his sidekick son. The costumes and wigs for Mrs Crusoe were fab!

The Magic Mermaid/narrator was played by Rachel Hadzik. Rachel had great diction and projection and told the story well, especially her opening speech! I really enjoyed Rachel’s version of ‘Whatever Happened to My Part’ from Spamalot.

Julie Mann’s Captain Jack was suitably camp and suitably corrupt. Whilst I would’ve preferred a bit more evil, Julie was well cast in this role and looked like she was really enjoying herself on stage. Her storytelling was great, and I really enjoyed her performance.

Mollie Slinn played the role of Robinson Crusoe’s love interest, Polly Perkins. Mollie was able to showcase her lovely singing, with some lovely versions of songs. I also felt she had a great rapport with Robinson (Megan Goode).

The village idiot role is a hard role in pantomime, but Adam Goode did wonderfully well in this part and had the right amount of idiocy, audience participation and command to keep us entertained throughout! A brilliantly funny performance!

Other notable performances were from Captain Jack’s two sidekicks, Jolly (Chandra Williams) & Roger (Steve Williams) who were both great and helped layer scenes, and Gary Blackman’s Major General, who commended the stage and looked the part!

Overall, this was an entertaining night at the theatre. The audience were very supportive and participated throughout. I have to say, I love coming to Shavington Village Festival Committee shows as I get a real sense of community here. The community spirit was well and truly alive in this production with over 130 members of the community involved in one way or another.