Association of Community Theatre

Adventure in Panto Land

Bollington Festival Players


Directors: Helen Valentine and Steph K. Evans

Musical Director: Rebekah Keen

Choreography: The Cast & Sue Lane


For far too long the professional theatre pantomimes that have been presented have kept to the top five titles. The scripts of Goody Two Shoes, Ali Baba, and the like are left on the shelf, which is a shame as they offer as much pantomime magic as the top pantomimes.


It was a brave decision to present something new to the festive pantomime selection. Bollington Festival Players found a script that includes six pantomimes the titles of which  include some not so regularly performed.


A wicked witch wipes the memories of pantomime principal characters and with the help of the Good Fairy they venture through pantoland to find their identities.


This excellent concept was richly conveyed by everyone on, and back, stage. The bijou performing space was well worked by the crew. Mid tabs enabled scene changes which enabled continuation of the slick pace of the story telling. The scenery offered enough to show location: it was well painted and well lit. Lighting was an important element which addied to the magic. Finishing off the presentation was inventive make–up, and a set of impressive costumes made by the group.


The cast of mainly junior members, with adults bringing experience to the proceedings, gave an entertaining balance. Direction brought out the best of the characters. It has to be mentioned that the line delivery and pace from the younger cast members carried the story to its happy ending. All the choreography and  movement was well executed and the song selection enhanced the show.


In all good fairy tales there has to be a witch to cause havoc. Poison Ivy (Di Gordon) had a field day, the wickedness being added to by Deadly Nightshade (Ellen Morris). Of the gruesome twosome, Di Gordon well earned her hisses and boos, and Ellen ably supported her mistress. In their employ is the Wizard, played for all it was worth by Susannah Bridgette.


Ailsa Hay was charming as Fairy Honeysuckle holding the interest of the audience with her splendidly delivered rhyming dialogue.

That difficult, and all important element, comedy, was in the safe hands of Anthony Davies, as the Dame, taking on the different persona of each pantomime visited on the journey through the story. Rebekah Keen, as Fool, also had to become the foolish characters of pantoland. She had great fun and her Act 2 song, “Life’s Happy Song” was a show stopper.


The Principal Girl was confidently played by Lynsey Cooper, and the thigh slapping Principal Boy, Emily Griffen leads the merry band on its quest to find out in which pantomime they belonged. Emily has all the attributes needed to deliver the unique, stylised pantomime hero.


All the drama, fun and mayhem were made possible due to the contribution of the other characters, Herald, Mirror, Giant, Cat and Genie and the ensemble. This really was a festive cracker!