Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews 2017
PUSS IN BOOTS
Prestbury Youth Pantomime
Director - Andy Jones
Musical Director - Ben Beer
Dance Directors - Verity Partington / Megan Smith
This 300 year old pantomime tradition is unique to British theatre; it is usually the first theatrical experience for the young. Here we have a company of young performers taking to the stage in this “Hiss ‘n’ Cheer” cousin of drama called pantomime.
There is a top ten of pantomimes; Puss in Boots is not up there with Aladdin or Cinderella. It does not sit in the usual format of pantomime business and slapstick. So many of the more traditional pantomimes have disappeared “Goodie Two Shoes”, “Ali Baba” and “The Snow Queen”, to name a few. Puss in Boots tells the story of a talking cat that helps his master Jack to marry the Princess Alice. It is a story well worth telling and perhaps is not told nearly as often as it should be.
The direction was inventive although a little short on comedy business but this didn’t deter from the audience’s enjoyment. The song selection and delivery was good. Perhaps a comic number would have been appreciated, however. All the choreography was inventive and delivered by a team of well-presented and coordinated dancers.
The stage settings were creative and enhanced the story, whilst the lighting and sound design gave the production an edge. Scene changes were un-intrusive and moved the action swiftly along, all the props added to the entertainment; Dame Hettie’s bicycle made for her a very strong entrance. There were excellent costumes for this pantomime and were full of plumptiousnous, to quote Mr. Dodd.
The casting was strong with the audience being kept informed and up-to-date with the progress of the story by the two narrators, Theo Jones and George Hine. They both handled the rhyming dialogue to good effect. In addition, there was The Ktnz, a panto type of girl band. Sarah Walton-Smith, Georgia Bailey and Maui Connock had fun as pantoland’s “Little Mix”.
For some of the performers it was to be their last PYP performance as they have reached the society's age limit. Bowing out this year is Dulcie Whadcock, playing Jack. Dulcie has a natural flair for comedy, she knows just how much to press on the comic accelerator. Dulcie brought everything to the role and got everything out of it.
Emma Robertson, as Jack’s magical cat, Puss, took centre stage with a well-conceived performance played to great effect. This extraordinary moggy fulfilled Jack’s wishes to marry the princess. The Royal family of King Herbert (James Hallworth), Queen Mildred (Emma Tapp), Princess Alice (Charlotte Foden), and not forgetting the King's Coach (Jude Smith) were all portrayed effectively full of youthful bite.
There is nothing like a dame, a panto dame, and Alex Rogan was every inch the bloke in a frock. He engaged with the audience on his first entrance bringing frolic and merriment to the proceedings.
Enter the villain of the piece, Lord Roger, the shape shifting Ogre who meets his fate when he changes into a rodent and is caught by Puss. Harry Colbert played the audience and earned his hisses and boos. Lord Rogers’s sidekicks, Nosmo King and Nopar King, are the pantomime comic duo doling out the puns. Jacob Beresford and Ethan Hadfield as the King Brothers gave some enjoyable exchanges.
The ensemble was not just used for stage dressing, it had an integral part to play and all the members paved the way for the characters. This Puss in Boots was a cracker of festive good cheer.