25th November 2017
Thurstable School, Tiptree
Type of Production
Amy Grieve and Julie Davidge
Author: Christine Davidson
Has Kyds Youth Drama Society got the X Factor? It certainly has if their latest pantomime has anything to go by. The talent in this production was really wonderful and I came out thinking just how much they had raised their game with this show.
Funny and up-to-date, with an excellent choice of songs; great choreography, pace and slick set changes, I was really impressed with the whole production. The excellently painted sets, made by KYDS members, were simple and effective. With a raised stage to the rear, they were able to change the upstage flats and add to the front of the raised stage quickly and easily.
Lighting and sound were well executed, this year more lights had been hired in, providing greater flexibility. I particularly liked the green light and smoke for the evil Deadly Nightshade. Costumes were superb with makeup really well done. There was so much detail for every member on stage and all the props were excellent.
The Three Fairy Godmothers (Amy Swallow- Lavender, Grace Upton – Lupin and Daisy Loerns- Lilac) were impressive. Each one had clear projection and great singing voices. I loved Fairy Lupin or Loopey as Harry the Jester called her, who could not end her rhymes. Their ‘Shoop Shoop’ song showed their own individual voices really well, they were all very impressive. The Fairy Godmothers wore beautiful costumes with brightly lit wands, and gave us delightful characters on stage.
Harry the Jester (Charlie Warner), bounced on, full of energy and his smile lit the stage. He had a good clear singing voice and his stage presence, engaging personality gave the audience the confidence to start shouting out his name right from the word go.
Another superb performance was the comedic Dame Winifred Slaptickle (Tom Nicholl). Over six feet tall, he towered above the rest of the cast playing the dame as if he was a professional pantomime actor. Picking out an audience member he kept his persona throughout the whole of the show and boy could he move. He had a great stage presence working so well with Charlie to make the perfect foil for one another.
The King and Queen (Marcus Renshaw & Emily Hatton) retained their regal characters throughout. The Queen sang ‘Take good care of my baby’ with a beautiful clear voice. Harbour master/Ticket Seller/Captain (Tommy Metcalf) gave us an excellent array of characters and the Cannibal chief (Olly Smith) had great fun with his wig on stage.
The evil role - Deadly Nightshade, was excellently portrayed by Elllie Russell, with her sidekick Snivel (Beau Hens) Ellie was in her element with this role and relished every line she delivered getting the audience booing and hissing. A great costume for her too. Young Snivel was a joy to watch and I loved his dancing in the Queen Song ‘Another one bites the dust’.
The handsome Prince (Ben Collins) was truly confident and comfortable on stage with a clear melodic voice which now sounds much deeper than I remember from earlier this summer in Joseph. Singing Take That’s ‘The greatest day of our lives’ with pretty Princess Rose (Ellie Macey), the two harmonised well together and both gave very credible strong performances.
The ensembles were this year well-choreographed; they danced and sang their hearts out, no straying over the stage but each one knowing where and what they had to do. They all had lots of costume changes to work out but obviously enjoyed being in such a fun production.
This hardworking youth group, who make all their own sets, costumes etc., should be so proud of this show. Definitely the best pantomime I have seen in a long time and I hope that this group go from strength to strength, as good youth groups are few and far between. This one is definitely one of the best.
Congratulations to all cast, crew and to the director James Stocker for a superb show.