Spittal Variety Group’s pantomime was a big hit - oh yes, it was!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Sleeping Beauty set in Muddleby on Marsh was a magical journey re-telling the age old fairytale of the young princess condemned to death, via the prick of her finger on a spinning wheel, by the Wicked Witch – but, with the help of the Good Fairy, lives to marry the prince of her dreams.
From the outset, the audience were treated to fabulous costumes and new concepts to scenery. Rousing musical numbers, complimented by strong and clear singing, were accompanied by the excellent SVG Band under the leadership of musical director Aubrey Sanderson.
The story told of the wicked curse cast by the Wicked Witch Hazel – portrayed by Georgia Young, no stranger to playing principal roles but playing the evil character for the first time. Her rendition of Screw Loose was particularly impressive, displaying what an amazing singing voice she has.
Her nemesis the Good Fairy Lilac, played confidently in her first principal role, was portrayed by Tiana Bettison. Battling to overcome the evil doings of the Witch.
Matthew Cooper and Diane Renner formed the ideal partnership as King Cactus and Queen Marigold. Matthew playing his first principal role and Diane, a seasoned character actress, playing slightly batty but loveable characters who relied on everyone in their kingdom to do all that was needed to make their lives easier.
Kate Bidwell and Fiona Dunn, playing the parts of Fetch and Carrie the court pages, brought humour to the story. Their scene with them sorting out postal invitations with each place name linked with dialogue was well executed and delivered. A great comedy duo who hopefully we will see again in the future working together.
A vital ingredient to panto is comedy and the one character everyone looks forward to seeing is the Panto Dame, in this case Dame Dottie Dimple. A rather incompetent and dizzy nursemaid-come-school-teacher.
Playing the role for the first time was Ian Little, a stalwart of SVG. He gave a confident performance, warming himself to the audience and his “victim patient” who was watching.
Another favourite is the compulsory village idiot. Someone who has over the years mastered the part is Jonathan Scott, this time playing Muddles. His rapport with the audience is second to none, bringing humour and light-heartedness to the role.
The young Princess Rose, although not a large part, was played with confidence, playing both humour and assurity. Minnie Cooper’s singing of ‘When I Grow Up’ was brilliantly sung and there is definitely a future in further parts for this young lady.
The principal boy Prince Alexis was once again played by Hannah Bass, a lady who exudes confidence and stature in the part from the start.
Playing opposite her in the leading role was Emma Beveridge. Emma is certainly making her mark in this type of role and never fails to get into the hearts of those watching her. The singing numbers with herself and Hannah were expertly delivered and these two young ladies make an ideal pairing.
A special mention must go to the three young – plus one not so young – fairies. They portrayed their parts well and warmed themselves to the audience.
A vital part of any show is the chorus and those on stage delivered their contribution to the performance with exuberance. Their singing and routines were most worthy of any theatre venue and their costumes, as with the Principals, were bright and colourful.
With every production, there is a lot going on behind the scenes and this was even more apparent for this production. Due to a change of venue from Theatre to Showbar, the team worked hard to create a theatre atmosphere as well as learning to operate spotlights, pyros, lights and moving screens, all to great effect.
Stage manager Kevin had plenty of assistance from his capable stage crew – operating silently and out of sight to the audience, both behind and in front of stage. Ably assisted by a front of house team, guiding the audience into their seats.
The Sleeping Beauty pantomime performed by SVG was directed by John Mabon, produced by Susan Whyte and written by Alan P Frayne, Stage Right Creative Limited.
Overall a very entertaining and enjoyable night, watching amateur theatre at its best.