|Date||6th December 2019|
|Society||Winterbourne Musical Theatre|
|Venue||Winterbourne Community Centre|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Musical Director||Becky Lunt|
Author: Dee Way
It is always a pleasure to visit this thriving village hall group who can stage the most challenging shows and make them seem easy! For this production, the hall was transformed into a tropical island setting with trailing vines, fishing nets, seaweed, starfish, flags and boat fenders, to excellent effect. With the undoubted talent within the group, this promised to be a wonderful evening of story telling and entertainment.
There is no doubt that many sections of the show worked very well indeed. The direction was inventive and creative, including animal puppets, dwarves and onstage musicians. Clear planning had created the effect of generous space that the cast used well, for crowd scenes, dances and the ship. The script was intricate and slightly tricky to follow at times, but the acting was very good on the whole. Where cast members were ill, their replacements did a fantastic job in taking over the roles at short notice.
The set was very well thought out and designed, for example, with an adaptable ship for in harbour and at sea. The scene changes were all built into the story and worked very well, with minimal interruption to the story. The addition to the script of some new material and jokes brought the tale up to date and highlighted some current news topics to the delight of the audience.
Musical accompaniment was sensitive and well played, although at times perhaps lacking in strength, with the very useful addition of other instruments at times making for good variety. The lighting was very effective, with good variety in the plot, although a couple of cues were late. Costumes were fabulous - colourful and characterful while the puppets were used to excellent effect.
It was therefore a shame that the show was a little slow in the beginning. I understand that many of the cast were tired or suffering from sickness, resulting in the first half lacking the usual energy and enthusiasm found in this group. However, the energy of the second Act was much higher, and showed how good this group's performances usually are.