Treasure Island

Date 21st February 2019
Society Nottingham West Music & Drama Society
Venue Kimberly School Theatre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Gillian Williams
Musical Director Tom Watkins
Choreographers Jane Clark & Merle Harrison


Author: Martin Holtom

It’s the first time I have seen a NOWMADS Pantomime but from the quality of writing, performance and timing this is clearly a strength of the group. Pacing was always sharp and, which is unusual in my experience of community theatre, a live band supported all the key musical numbers with only a couple of exceptions for dance numbers.  This certainly set the NOWMADS pantomime apart from others that I see and was a very welcome addition.

Now – I’m not going to try tell the story of Treasure Island but suffice to say all the key elements were in evidence from the Black Spot, through the WI Pirates, Long John Silver and his cut-throat cross dressing crew, to the industrial water rifles and baby shark….   As you can tell this was a classic pantomime with a nice modern comedic twist which at all times provided excellent settings, well-orchestrated set pieces and jokes that were funny without overly relying on double-entendre making this a very family friendly show.  

The ensemble cast provided comedic strength in depth. Martin Belcher who I understand had stepped in with two weeks to go was a great Dame and engaged the audience without slowing the pace of the show.  Emma Heydon was a very believable principal boy Jim Hawkins and managed, with Siobhan Waddington-Taylor as Jenny Trelawny to deliver a classic pantomime partnership.  

Suzie Green and Lis Hipkiss were just right as the comic pirates and led the audience engagement throughout the night.  Steve Clarke was obviously having way too much fun playing Long John Silver and this sense of fun was a key element shared by Ashley Smith, Danny De Martino and Rob Waddington-Taylor as the male pirate band.  This crew started fast, establishing their characters and characteristics within their first scene and developed them throughout the night much to the audience’s amusement including the cross dressing as the team became the Pirate Cove WI.  Evelyn Skellet was a very impressive Polly the Parrott and complete with full body parrot costume and makeup added something unique to this production.  As did Carole De Martino and the members of the WI who obviously revelled in their opportunity to be “bad” for once in a pantomime...  

Throughout the night the team of dancers executed Jane & Merle’s choreography with great energy, accuracy and enthusiasm providing some great accents across the performance.  The sets, set painting and costumes all added to the evening as did the lighting and sound balance which, in such a confined space, was no mean achievement.

I had a very enjoyable trip to Treasure Island.  Many thanks and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Martin Holtom