2nd December 2017
Bootle Town Hall
Type of Production
Anne Dickinson and Chris Ellis
Author: Budge Grounsell
No “star” from Hollyoaks, Emmerdale or any other TV show for that matter; instead a lot of local stars from the Waterloo and Crosby Theatre Company who gave us a really traditional style pantomime and did it very well.
Director Julie Cook took this famous tale, rewrote and reworked it to suit what was a new Venue and stage and enabling her to get the most out of her cast; aided by Assistant Director Nicol Henshaw and Choreographer Claudia Molineux they proved to be a strong team. They made good use of the floor of the auditorium to widen the scope of the action; important when considering the size of the stage and size of cast.
What of the cast? Well W&CTC are basically a community theatre group drawing on parents, young people (some every young) and supporters. They offer an opportunity for people of all ages to take part and enjoy the excitement of performing, helping backstage or front of house. On stage, ages ranged between a babe in arms, youngsters, and upwards all of whom contributed in no short measure to the show.
Unusually we started with Abanazar (Simon Henderson) and the Slave of the ring (Callum Ashton)
who between them set up the plot. This duo maintained their characterisation throughout with Abanazar getting plenty of boos from the audience whilst Callum gave us a very different interpretation of this role. How he walked in those shoes I’ll never know.
It was left to Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey to get the audience in the right frame of mind and Alexandra Edgar and Linda Hansen didn’t let us down. Neither did Megan French (Princess Jasmine) or Hannah Johnson(Aladdin). Both sang well and looked at home in their parts. We had the Chinese Policemen (Kim Bennet and Niamh Bennet-Dix) under the leadership of the “chief” 9-year-old Joseph Ramsay who is an old hand on stage and showed it. These “guardians of the law” later led the audience in the traditional pre-finale sing song very well.
With small but none the less important roles were Emperor Ming (Robin Leyland), Genie of the Lamp (Steve Little and Rubber Ducky (David Johnson).
Add to the above “Woodland Animals”, Guards, Dancers, ensemble and the “Belcher”. We had a special guest appearance from Baby Bear, (Henry Stewart no crying; obviously a born trouper.
Music was in the more than capable hands of Anne Dickinson and Chris Ellis. Credit must also go to the unseen but so important backstage helpers whose contribution cannot be overestimated. Well done to you all. Budge.