Review by  Brenda Gower NODA area representative



Storm Gertrude may have been buffeting us about as we arrived at the Stone Cross Memorial Hall but once inside after a warm welcome we were treated to an evening of great fun and whatever was happening outside really didn’t matter.

Writer and Director Geoff Baker had certainly used an unusual title for his Panto which I am sure had intrigued the punters and it was a very fine Cat indeed played by Emily Neen-Simes dressed in very elegant natty gents suiting and wearing some beautiful gold sandals which were, of course, magic!  Jane Jenkinson as Dick gave us a Principal Boy who actually didn’t get the girl and was refreshingly naive at times but using her lovely voice to great effect.

Fairy Bow Bells, played by Amy Baker was a great cockney Fairy with a lovely laugh that had to be heard to be appreciated and the audience certainly appreciated it and her performance.  Andy Bennett was the bumbling and very funny Alderman Johnson and Douglas Dalziel delighted everyone as Betty Bunn, looking wonderful in his costumes and superb makeup.  As the programme notes stated, he is the ultimate Dame and long may these performances last.  Wendy Knowles was Crystal, the Principal Girl, a part she played charmingly.

Then we come to the baddies – where would pantomime be without them?!  They deserved all the boos and hisses from the audience and Emma Pierssenne was an incredibly scary Queen Rat with her cohorts, Hobnob and Garabaldi played beautifully by Michelle Moon and Tristan Goddard.  Their costumes, together with those of the smaller rats were extremely effective, particularly the claws and tails of the really bad trio.

Sean Langford used his character expertise to become Captain Spudulike and Steve Edwards was the male romantic interest as Prince Braveheart (lovely singing voice) and he was the one who got the girl.  Sue Beck was the regal Queen Oompaloompa and Rhodri Corner as Idle Jack gave an ideal performance of someone who was always asleep on the job!

There were some lovely dance routines performed by the Dance Chorus, expertly choreographed by Mo Munday and Amy Baker and the ensemble were in good voice and certainly added to the fun.  The Wardrobe Team should be proud of the costumes, all on stage looking just as they should.  Musical Director Mark Dickman (also on keys), together with Steve Huxley (percussion) and Oren Gurney (reeds) gave the great live music factor to the production with a little recorded music being used as well.

Lots of great work had gone on backstage with set design and construction, sound, lighting and all the myriad things that have to be done.  Thank you Geoff and everyone concerned for a very entertaining evening.