SINBAD THE SAILOR……HIS 8TH VOYAGE
Bollington Festival Players
Director Steph Evans
Musical Director Rebekah Tomkinson
Company Choreography Steph Evans
Dancers Choreography Sue Lane
Once again, this group took the decision to go beyond the usual choice of pantomime and presented another tale adapted from one of the Arabian Night stories, Sinbad. This offering from “Pantoland” was to take us on Sinbad’s 8th Voyage, with comic consequences.
The script entertained and was full of pantomime fun but, to my mind, was just a little too long. In the case of pantomime, ‘less is more’. The young cast did well not to lose interest.
A lot of preparation must have gone into this year’s annual festive event. All the production elements necessary to present a successful show needed to be well calculated. The large cast were able to move freely around the stage. All the required entrances and exits happened unhindered. This was the result of everyone being well rehearsed and totally focused on what needed to be done.
An important cog in the production engine room is the out-of-the-spotlight technicians. For this show they generated the magic that is pantomime, especially with the under the sea U.V. capers.
The character presentation was excellent: the costumes, the hair and the make-up gave that extra air of credibility to the story tellers.
The creative team could not have extracted anymore from their company which was made up of 9 to 16-year olds, and adults. The musical content was contemporary including the ever popular, “Baby Shark”. All the numbers were delivered enthusiastically which added to the dramatic scenes. The choreography, whether a company or a company dance routine, added to the narrative. A troupe of junior dancers expressively displayed their training with their set pieces.
All the hard work with the young cast was evident. Their stage craft was easy to see. There was no blocking, no up-staging and there was good diction with the right amount of thought behind the words.
Once again Emily Griffen delivered a fully rounded character, this time as the spirit Fortuna. Prince Said was princely captured by Ailsa Hay. Fun and games came from Mia Sugden and Susannah Bridgett, as Trace and Snaffle, under the spell of Evilena. Keeping up the comedy input were Ariarna Gordon and Maddalena Cagol, as Jinbad, the jailer, and Winbad ,the Whaler. We cannot forget Eve Halsey, as the delightful handmaiden, and Ruth Hambleton, as the Kalifah’s faithful Wazir. All principals were supported by an engaging junior chorus. The care and attention given to these young actors was a credit to the group.
There were plenty of knock-about action from Kristina Lisle (Silly Sally) and Giles Gaddum (Timbad the Tailor), two newcomers to pantomime. They engaged with the audience helping the them to feel part of the proceedings. Di Gordon, as the Kalifah, and Peter Cliffe, as the Old Man of the Sea, also made their mark.
The playing of the Dame is not an easy task as so much is expected from their first entrance. Antony Davis, as Norman Snickers, took control when needed and supported without overshadowing.
Booing and hissing is part of the tradition, but they have to be earned. Helen Valentine worked hard as Evilena, cajoling the audience and she was rewarded with a bombardment of hisses and boos.
A pantomime has to have its thigh-slapping love interest. Lynsey Cooper was a charming Princess Miranda, and her Sinbad was convincingly portrayed by Rebekah Tomkinson. Their “Neverland” duet sealed their characters.
This enchanting pantomime taking the audience on Sinbad’s 8th voyage was a clear winner.