The Legend of King Arthur written by Beverley Beveridge

Date 2nd February 2019
Society Benenden Players
Venue Benenden Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Beverley Beveridge
Musical Director Graham Beveridge
Choreographer Fiona Boorman

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

Another Beveridge/Beveridge collaboration to add to the brilliant repertoire, with terrific imagination, supported by behind the scenes team - a truly ‘family’ cast continued working to strive high standards. The A5 colourful programme was created by Robert Dunnett, cover depicting an extended arm from the lake whilst clasping a Stone, with castle background – unusual artwork. Good reading and fine colour rehearsal photos. Graham and his versatile band entertained with jazzy pieces. Joined by Matt Beattie, bass guitar, Simon Pain was on drums with Lyn Grimsey on clarinet, sax and a selection of percussive instruments!

Fundraising is priority for stage lighting changes to LED and Benenden are working hard to make this improvement. Headed by Simon Morris with his assistants, certainly sound has improved by leaps and bounds, with inspired effects the lighting was created by Steve Boorman and helpers.

Sir Bragalot - Peter Ellis gave the housekeeping announcement appeared as a lord sporting a splendid tunic, skirted coat, stockinged legs, own beard and a typical Henry VIII ‘flat’ hat, that included a complimentary mention of NODA. A great baddie role, often in his fur covered throne and excelled in the G & S favourite ‘I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General’. 

The storyline told how Arthur becomes King, as a young man playing with friend Guin living happily alongside two ‘Dame’ aunts, voluptuous Nelly and Nora of Nocker lineage. What a pair! Beautiful gowns - huge elongated coloured wigs and glam make-up for the two Ians – Aldridge and Malaugh - who worked easily together with good diction, singing and the piece de resistance,  Marilyn Monroe red lookalike dresses plus blond wigs with a well synced dance routine.  How Guards Michael Patrick and Bob Barrow kept the smooching going, I don’t know – most amusing.

On visiting  Bragalot, an old Crone suffering from a grand bout of flatulence, amusingly played by Joy Rowlands, foretells Arthur will be King. To thwart his evil scheme was Merlin wizardly and strong of voice portrayed by Paul Gautier, accompanied by trusty Parrot young repeating Seth Williams, great support from work experience teenager with attitude, a bit Estuary and on ‘er phone the amusing character Waynette, played by Prim Barron-Reid. A melodious, moving duet came from Joe Tyler and Laura Pengelly – Billy Joel’s ‘Just the Way you Are’. Three pert witches were played with some wonderful ‘Scottish Play’ borrowed lines.  Then Arthur’s whisked away. By Act 2 he’s miraculously grown up and with great strength removes Excalibur from the Stone proving his right, but in true Panto tradition after being imprisoned, all’s well and he and Guin reunite and Bragalot gets his just deserts!

A huge team effort created colourful and interesting scenery together with props – well painted too. A cleverly constructed flickering cauldron and the Stone stood central with a large Dragon’s egg perched on top with Excalibur plunged into the side impressive and when it cracked open little Dragon Evie Williams popped out - another enchanting moment. John Clarke in his usual position as SM plus helpers, not forgetting Prompt Billie Edmonds-Bell, ensured smooth running. Atmospheric dark opening. with the black cloaked coven of Aphrodisia in shades of green - Debbie Katis, Seducta in purple - Tilly Milnes, multi-coloured Ditsia - Bonny Sullivan created supernatural beings, rhyming well, trioing upbeat numbers with Fiona’s interesting choreography. Goblins Snap, Crackle and Pop with Archie Bunch, Felix Gautier and Oliver Morris in bright costumes and strap-on ears assisted cheekily.

The athleticism of Heidi, Holly, Tilly and Evie in their colourful outfits entertained royally and Cameron Rance as Whizz jestered his tricks well. Knights of the Round Table namely Vile, Prise, Tax and Charge looked splendid in armour suits - Hector, Olly, Ted and Alex made their characters their own. Angela Patrick performed a smart Tax Inspector with a strong German accent, and ‘Helga’ blond plaited wig. Lucy Freeman heralded well as royal page whilst Freddie Frothingham, whose name was never correctly used, was a perfect Dad played by Paul Woolwich. Congratulations Wardrobe Department on such a colourful and well finished spectacle. The young dance troupe confidently performed their routines. Coerced youngsters and men performed a singalong, Bev and Graham together with Fiona created another first-class family entertainment. Grand finale clapping to ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ with Adult Arthur rightful King, beautifully armoured, Garry Croucher and Adult Guin lovely Louise Clarke!