|Date||13th February 2020|
|Society||Dodleston Youth Players|
|Venue||Dodleston Village Hall|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Musical Director||Mary Brierley|
Author: Joanne Rymer
Dodleston Youth Players
At the Dodleston Players Pantomime you are immediately exposed to true community theatre, what an amazingly welcoming atmosphere, I recommend everyone to visit this uniquely friendly society. Treasure Island, a refreshingly different new script written by Toby Bradford & Tina Webster, has plenty of the tried and tested traditional pantomime favourites in the story of swashbuckling pirates and the hunt for hidden treasure.
One wonders what Robert Louis Stevenson would have thought had he been able to sit and watch this production of ‘Treasure Island – the Panto!’ His wonderful adventure story was still recognisable, but the Squire had acquired a very pretty and feisty daughter, there was a talking parrot with attitude, and who were all these wonderful talented pirates? And of course there were some mixed gender castings. Actually, if RLS was anything like the audience who came along the evening I attended, he would have had a whale of a time and a lot of jolly good laughs.
We are introduced to the plot by what can only be described as a’ modern’ Fairy Godmother who at first glance I immediately thought of Barbara Cartland . Congratulations go to Karen Woodworth who was a vision in pink! Great performance here. Her constant incoming calls from the most sparkling mobile phone were hilarious.
The sets, the costumes and the props were spot on, as were the lighting and sound effects, and it must be said that the musical director, Mary Brierley and choreographer Joanne Robertson did an absolutely brilliant job with this predominantly young cast. The mop and bucket number was stunning, a highlight of the show for me.
Talking of highlights - every Panto needs a Dame and we had one in spades with the wonderful Ma Hawkins, played in true Panto style by Gordon Robertson. His outrageus flirting with Squire Trelawney (Glen Mullholland) was just the right side of saucy. The camaraderie between these two actors was lovely to watch. Ma Hawkins fighting off the marauding pirates with an enormous saucepan was a laugh out loud experience.
Mike Dix as Long John Silver took command of the stage as soon as he made his menacing entrance, great stage presence. The audience hissed and booed every time he appeared. The idea of him as the ships cook was magical, Mike’s interaction with the audience was brilliant, great performance here. His hilarious entrance and exits were something to behold, very well done.
As Silver’s parrot Polly, Isabella Grattan was adorably cheeky, very colourful, and complete with flapping wings!
As for the reluctant gruesome pirates, Billy Brass (Karen Welsh) and Nicky Knuckles (Joanne Robertson) were very entertaining and made a great comedy duo. With almost perfect timing they were the link that pulled the action together, once again the interaction with the audience from these two talented people was wonderful.
Key to the story, Jim Hawkins, played by Emily Kitchin, feels stuck working in the family Inn, The Admiral Bembow, which is losing money hand over fist, Jim is longing for adventure, Could this be the day something exciting finally happens? Encouraged by Martha the Barmaid (Gabrielle Phillips) Jim finds the treasure map in Billy Bone’s chest he left at the Inn. Adventure calls and it looks like there might be gold on the horizon. Jim falls in love with the Squire’s daughter Felicity Trelawney (Amelia McConnell). Both parts were played with charm and sincerity, their songs sung with real feeling.
Once they all set sail, with the newly signed Captain Corker’un (Kayleigh Pearson), things start to look dangerous. Will they escape from a gruesome gang of pirates and make their way back to dry land with the treasure?
The treasure is where X marks the spot, so it says on the map, on reaching dry land we find the island occupied: Robinson Crusoe has set up home, with his companion Girl Friday (Eden Mullholland), yes I did say Robinson Crusoe.
Congratulations to Beard Seller Oscar Marsh, Pirates Joey Byrne, Alex Robertson, Cameron Glenister, Lucy Lawrence, Sasha Bates and Amaya Kaira. Congratulations to Girls Monday to Thursday: Olivia McDonald, Evie McDonald, Macey Lockerbie and Erin Preston. With such talented young people Dodleston Youth Players looks secure for their future.
Back to Robinson Crusoe played by Steven Hughes, Mr Cool himself, who introduces the gang to Girls Monday to Thursday very funny dialogue here, well delivered. We find out that Crusoe has already found the treasure and invested it in clubs, casinos and luxury apartments on the island. He encourages the gang to stay, Ma Hawkins proposes to the Squire, Jim proposes to Felicity and all is well.
The finale is just simply fun- fun- fun, the whole cast singing enthusiastically the truly happy song Hot, Hot, Hot. Fabulous finale.
What was even more remarkable about this production was how director Sue Ramsey managed to pull off such a superb performance given the very limited space on a very compact stage. Clearly there is a great deal of support for this society as every ticket was taken for the performance I attended.
Heartfelt congratulations to all concerned. The treasure was found (and spent) the baddies reformed, and everyone lived happily ever after! This production certainly hit the spot and the audiences went out happy and content. What more could anyone want?
Thank you for an entertaining evening, it was a blast.