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Rumpelstiltskin

Date

4th December 2015

Society

Mawdesley Amateur Dramatic Society

Venue

Mawdesley Village Hall

Type of Production

Pantomime

Director

Hilda McAughey

Report

Author: Luke Taberer & Lloyd Bamber

A Pantomime which has a none traditional title, a very well written script by Gareth Preston and a superb cast to bring it alive is exactly what Mawdesley Amateur Dramatic Society did with Rumpelstiltskin, their 2015 Pantomime choice. The story revolves around a girl called Elizabeth and her mum, Dame Dolly. In the wool shop they run works Simple Simon. We also have a Royal Family who are put under a spell by the Evil Goblin, which causes them to be greedy and treat their villagers terribly. This greed causes all sorts of issues and due to Dame Dolly’s compulsive lying Elizabeth gets into all sorts of problems, which the Goblin makes even worse. In the end good triumphs over evil all thanks to some superb detective work from an unlikely subject.

The show opened with a dance scene and we were introduced to some of the main cast. The lively opening and confident delivery of dialogue grabbed the audience’s attention. The jokes and humour started from this first scene and as is expected with a pantomime this carried on right the way through.

As the show progressed we were introduced to many members of this rather large cast. It is important to keep a pantomime interesting and captivating, due to the many young people who come to watch the productions. An easy way to achieve this is by having lots of characters who all have different personalities and bring a different aspect to the show. The fantastic and varied characterisations ensured the show was interesting. After an initial browse of the programme we had some reservations, as unusually the dame was a female. This is typically the comedy part which has many jokes geared about the ‘unusual’ woman she is. Thankfuly these worries were completely dispelled due to the high standard of performance within this role. The jokes and humour were still in abundance causing the audience to laugh out loud at almost every sight of the Dame.

All the cast gave strong confident performances. Lines were well delivered with only minor prompts needed, which were well worked into the show as extra comedy moments. Due to good delivery of lines the comedy was brought out all the way through.  

This modern script contained both jokes for the children and adults. The lack of the ‘same old’ pantomime gags, such as shouting at Simple Simon every time he comes on stage, was appreciated. This enabled the show to flow much better and prevented any cringe worthy moments when the cast struggle to get the audience involved. There were still enough traditional aspects to keep the pantomime feel as well as many comic scenes. The show was very well paced throughout and the shorter than average run time was very well managed, in order to keep everyone captivated for the whole show.

Costumes were superb and looked nice on stage. They all seemed to be well fitted and the effort that had gone into them, including design influences which linked to the story, such as the cheeses on the guard uniforms, did not go unnoticed.  The staging throughout was well designed and the rotating side portals enabled a completely different look to the stage to be easily achieved. 

The sound aspects of the show however had a couple of issues. The stage microphones were knocked by cast members a number of times, making very loud banging noises and the radio microphone used by the Goblin had a few crackles. The handheld radio microphone used for one scene also seemed out of place. The sound effects and backing tracks added to the overall production but sometimes these were only very short and seemed somewhat rushed. In addition to this the song sheet seemed somewhat over engineered and the choice of a modern pop song as apposed to a traditional rhyme meant that audience participation was limited. This said the cast did a very good job at getting people involved, by creating actions as well as singing. 

All in all this was a very enjoyable pantomime which brought smiles and laugher to all who attended. The show was well received by the audience, which could be heard throughout. The script was a superb choice, as it had content which could be appreciated by all ages and flowed very well. The interesting staging, costumes and excellent characterisations,  with some good singing and dancing from the cast, all came together to make a memorable show. We would like to thank for society for their hospitality and hope their 2016 productions continue to be as successful as this one.