Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews 2017
THE PIED PIPER
Bollington Festival Players
Directors: Helen Valentine and Steph K Evans
Choreographer: Steph K Evans ( some numbers assisted by Sue Lane)
Musical director: Rebekah Keen
There is always a lovely, warm welcome when we visit Bollington Festival Players and your pleasant hospitality was extremely appreciated again - thank you.
The Pied Piper was a pantomime neither of us had seen before so we were keen to see what the show had in store and which array of characters we would meet along the way. Packed with carefully chosen, up-to-date modern songs, the audience was clapping and singing throughout which created a receptive crowd. This was very much a story of good being triumphant over evil and it was fantastic to see so many new faces enjoying themselves.
The show opened with Fairy Strudel (Ailsa Hay) and Fairy Stollen (Emilia Gaddam) singing 'Pure Imagination'. Both tried hard and delivered their lines with confidence.
The opening number, 'Walking On Sunshine', was vibrant and enthusiastic although perhaps needed a little more polish in parts. Following this number we met the Burgomeister Head of Hamelin town council, responsible for collecting rents and taxes – a pompous,self-important autocrat who wears a chain of office like a mayor. This character was well played by Peter Kent who kept in character throughout the show. Helga Von Trump, the German sausage-maker and her 'daft' son, Willie, then appeared in the Town Square, making an entrance that was jam packed full of jokes, one after another (although many could have done with being updated). Matthew Gratton-Cash (Helga) and Emma-Clare Sheldon (Willie) worked hard throughout.
No pantomime is complete without 'the baddy' and in this one we had two! Sour Kraut (Luke Buck) and Rat Worst, the leader of Hamelin’s plague of rats (Peter Cliffe). Both showed promise and worked hard. Greater interaction with the audience would have made the characters even more menacing and convincing.
The town’s idiotic, bungling rat catchers, Blatter and Splatter, were portrayed incredibly well by Diane McIntyre and Craig Harris. The German accent worked well and we warmed to these two characters more and more as the pantomime progressed. They worked together, giving it their all in every scene. I am not sure we will ever get over the sight of Splatter in leggings though!
Soon we were introduced to Hans the 'sensible' son (Ruth Hambleton) and his girlfriend, Heidi (Maddy Blum). There is so much potential with both these roles and Heidi came across well as the kind hearted Burgomeister’s daughter. However, a little more projection was needed during their the songs.
Pippin, The Pied Piper, is a wandering musician from the mountains. The character was played exceptionally well by Susannah Bridgett aged 11. She was, by far, the star of the show and is a talent to watch out for in the future. She kept in character throughout the show, oozed confidence and looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself - a pleasure to watch. Well done!
There was certainly enough for the chorus and dancers to do and they all appeared to be enjoying themselves although some of the scenes did appear a little over crowded at times. We must make a special mention to two of the ensemble/rats, Alannah Nolan and Mia Sugden. The enthusiasm you brought to the stage put a smile on our faces, and you were both a joy to watch.
Rebekah Keen commanded the live band and ensured the musical numbers moved with pace. The costumes (Stephanie Hambleton and Kathleen Portlock) were very effective and in keeping with the story. Lighting by Kim Creasey and sound by Sam Timpson was excellent and added that all important extra dimension.
This was an enjoyable evening, full of community spirit, and one which resulted in the audience leaving with smiles on their faces. Well done to all.