The Elves and the Shoemaker

Date 25th January 2019
Society Washington Theatre Group
Venue Washington Arts Centre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Catriona Brannigan-Uren


Author: Foster Johnson

In the competitive world of pantomime, both professional and amateur, theatrical groups are always looking for something to perform that is different to that of their contemporaries in what is a very difficult  market place at this time of the year. In doing so they take a big risk that their choice may not attract an audience such as  of one of the "standards" and  are left counting the cost of their decision. It is even a bigger gamble when they take a storyline and write a production around it.themselves.

Well so far as the Washington Theatre Group was concerned it was a decision that paid dividends for them. Before a capacity house, their interpretation of this 1806 story of the Elves and the Shoemaker was a highly entertaining show. As the Director pointed out in her resume of the show, for the story to come alive it takes lots of time, creativity, skill, effort and team work for the magic to happen. Well in the hands of Director Catriona Brannigan-Uren, Producer Marie Lovell and the complete back/front of house staff and stage crew it certainly did.

The story line was simple in its telling. Mischievious Elf Leonardo, played well by Sarah Clarke, is sent to the world of humans without his magical powers, by his mother the Elvish Queen (a fine interpretation by Angela Chard with a super singing voice) to become a better elf. In doing so he must undertake good deeds to regain them. He is unknowingly assisted by two dim witted elves Willy and Nilly (well interpreted by Michael Techner and Danny Stones) and has to pit himself against the dastardly and self important Prince Puce ( a wonderful characterisation by John Seymour ) who in his vanity has taken the Shoemaker's Daughter Kate prisoner (a lovely role by Angela Marshall)  to force her father Mr Jones (well played as is the norm for him by Peter Wilson) to make new shoes every day to secure her release. In addition we had a range of  characters,who all fitted in seamlessly into the plot and delivered roles that were spot on for their characters. The Dame Fanny McNee, Deidre, Marco the Cuban (narrator) Hugh Wormly Fitting -Room (Valet to the Prince) all played well played and interpreted by Matthew Lowe, Clare Rycroft,Rachel Neill, and Pamela Elliott. There was also a small but effective ensemble and of course not forgetting Kevin Brannigan as Dai the Dragon.

Last but by no means least we had a fine array of young dancers from Trish and Trina Performers Academy

As with a good pantos, we had plenty of audience participation and a wonderful videoed chase sequence ala Benny Hill The lighting,sound and costumes were also very effective from the front bof house  Needless to say good overcomes all, and love and happiness blossoms