THE PIED PIPER
Written & directed by Janet Featonby
Choreography: Debbie Sutton
Music supplied by backing tracks
Despite the bad weather we followed the call of the Pied Piper to Antrobus Village Hall. A full house was sitting and waiting for the piper’s tale to commence. A society member scripted the Hamelin legend into a pantomime format. All the pantomime favourites, from Dame to Principal Boy, were woven into the story, with satisfying effect.
The limitations of stage facilities were overcome with well painted cloths being swiped in and out and by keeping the stage settings to the minimum. This allowed the action to take place without effecting the ebb and flow of the drama. Lighting brought the stage alive, and the sound levels for the backing tracks were not intrusive over the performers.
A first rate set of costumes depicted the characters and the Rattling’s costumes were impressive. All the unsung heroes, from front of house to beyond back stage, made it possible for the show to go on.
Direction was by the author who extracted everything out of her script and brought about a fun evening’s entertainment. The choreography was made to measure with everyone on stage delivering their chracterisations with confidence. There was a very interesting and well executed opening dance to act two. Musically the song selection was good and fitted with the unfolding story and relationships.
This year’s cast of young, inexperienced youngsters, most of whom had not been on stage before, were disciplined and showed promise. As both the Rat Pack, and the ensemble, they displayed team work and they supported the principals.
In his debut role, master Charlie Parke,s as Ratatat, created a Disneyesque character which was most entertaining. His counterpart is Ratalee played by another debut member, Georgia Parrott. Georgia was convincing and delivered her lines with relish.
Ratatat and Ratalee are from a larger family of rats that have infested the town. Their rulers, King and Queen Rat, were regally portrayed by Phil Pugh and Marian Hankey.
The town’s people want rid of the rats and turned to the Mayor for a solution. Ann Pugh had fun as the incompetent civil servant. Edwin, his sidekick, played by Amy Dawber (in her first role) is blamed for everything that goes wrong. To rid the town of vermin, the Pied Piper is engaged.
In the dame role, Mary Cummins, as Rose Bush, worked the audience with pantomime traditional business. She was outlandish and was complete with an array of costumes to endorse the situations and comic business.
No pantomime is complete without it’s “skin part”. Camelia Bush, the cow, was a firm favourite, and all Camelia’s antics were enjoyed.
It is not easy playing the role of principal girl, a character which is usually there just to dress the stage. Daisy Hayes did more than that as Azalea Bush. She created a strong and believable heroine.
Tracy Cartwright, dressed in multi-coloured clothes, was the rat catcher, the Pied Piper. Tracy by her performance, epitomised the role of a principal boy. She was stylish, naturally engaging and commanded the stage.
This bespoke pantomime was a treat for both the young and old alike.