Urmston Musical Theatre
Director: Richard Gaffney
Musical Director: Neil Ravenscroft
Choreographer: Emma Harris
As a result of the refurbishment of their theatre this group is temporarily homeless. However, the company did not let its audience down by not presenting their annual pantomime. This year it was an Easter pantomime instead when “Humpty Dumpty” was presented. This nomadic group took up residence in a local school academy where the auditorium and stage allowed a full-scale production to take place.
“Humpty Dumpty” was a perfect choice for an Easter pantomime and the script was not in the traditional format. The last time I saw this pantomime was with Harry Secombe in the title role. This version included all the nursery rhymes and every egg joke you can think of. A minimal set, with cloths swiped in and out, and a set of colourful costumes was more than enough to transport the audience to the Kingdom of Over-Eggingham.
Fairy Soufflé waved her wand and Urmston Musical Theatre technical team added a touch of magic to the proceedings. There was an excellent band, with a fabulous woodwind player, Hannah Fry, delivering the well-selected music.
The direction captured the essence of the pantomime without any Christmas references. There were, however, one or two pantomime traditions that were not adhered to. All the choreography gave a certain charm to Nursery-Rhyme-Land and it was well executed.
The ensemble and younger members worked hard bringing the exploits of Humpty Dumpty to a satisfying “happy ever after” ending. In the battle of good versus evil, Fairy Soufflé was convincingly played by Maria Valentine, and the smelly, Egg-nog, The Bad, by Daniel Mellor who was right royally hissed and booed. They had fun as they worked the audience.
John Partridge made his mark as King Egbert, and Mia Robertson was every inch the Princess Petal. The King’s Guard are led by General Mayhem (Chris Haslam) and he was aided by Reggie Mental (Lynsey Cassidy). There was plenty of fun and games along the way which included the King’s Horse (Ruth Forber and Anthony McNee).
A pantomime isn’t a pantomime without a Dame, and Chris Silke filled the frocks and was entertaining as he heaved his bosom as, Ditsy Dither. The comic duo of Topsy Turvy and Upsy Daisy were played by Dominic Smith and Freya Gow. Although they lacked a little experience they displayed very promising futures.
Rachel Mellor, as Humpty Dumpty, free from his eggshell, took us on an adventure in the Tardis. From Nursery-Rhyme-Land into space, and the into a circus. This was achieved with enthusiasm and plenty of energy. Rachel made sure there was a lot to enjoy along Humpy Dumpty’s journey.
Easter pantoland egged its way into the audience and they had a cracking time. I wonder whether or not this will become a permanent event in the way that it has in professional theatre?