Friday, 31 January 2020

“Chicago – High School Edition” by Act One
Iveshead Theatre, Shepshed.
The musical is the story of Roxie Hart who is married to wimpy Amos Hart, but has a lover, Fred Casey, who one night pops round and ends up being fatally shot by Roxie. She is arrested and jailed where she runs into Velma Kelly, who becomes a rival on just about every front.
Mama Morton, who runs the women’s prison, negotiates a deal with high flying, hot-shot lawyer Billy Flynn to get Roxie off the charge, which puts Velma’s nose out of joint as she is no longer the centre of attention. How fickle is Flynn and the media world? Well this musical answers that!
But surely I am preaching to the converted here as there can’t be many people who have not seen the film “Chicago” which starred Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger, so you all know the outcome of this glitzy musical packed with razzle dazzle.
Yasmin (Roxie Hart) grew as the musical went on, becoming ever more powerful as she demanded more from her audience, A brilliant singer and dancer and very entertaining to watch.
Georgia (Velma Kelly) really looked the part, and I loved the wig and her costumes. A powerful singer and talented dancer, and as Velma, she demanded that all eyes be on her.
Will (Billy Flynn) oozed just the right amount of smarm and self importance for this role. I can see a prospective character actor in Will.
One section I was looking forward to was "They Both Reached For The Gun". this is not the easiest of songs to perform, and if you know the song, or have seen the song performed, you'll know why. Will and Yasmin absolutely smashed this piece, and I could not hide the smile on my face at the end of this song.
Alex (Amos Hart) got the audience on his side as the doormat that is Amos Hart. Again another excellent character actor who also showed brilliant vocal talents in his featured song, "Mr Cellophane".
Ruby (Mama Morton) showed she was the boss. What vocals she gave in the awesome "When You're Good To Mama"
Charlie (Fred Casey) managed to inject a bit of comedy into this role with just a raise of his eyebrows and a wink, extracting laughs from the audience.
The ensemble had obviously worked hard, and looking at them you can see the enjoyment they gleaned from what they were doing, and that made us enjoy their enjoyment. Now with there being so many in the ensemble, and great to see some lads in there with as much enthusiasm as the girls.
Every year, when I attend Act One's productions, I always seem to be drawn to one particular actor or dancer or singer in the ensemble. One that you seem to notice just a little more than the others,and on Friday night there was a young man whose precise armography and his choreographic skills really caught my eye. Mixed with such enthusiasm for what he was doing, Kyle, I feel has a great future on the stage.
This is by no means any sign of disrespect to any other ensemble member because I could see the immense amount of work every single performer had invested in their parts, and they were amazing to watch.
Produced and Directed by Adrian Dobson, he has delivered something very special with this show. I have had the pleasure to see several of Act One's productions and every show manages to raise that bar a little higher every time.
I've also had the pleasure of spotting the talents within these Iveshead theatre shows and have seen them blossom into local actors who have frequently taken their talents to a higher level. All this thanks to the dedication of people like Adrian.
Choreographed by Wendy Spencer, she has yet again brought out these young people's inner talents. The tap section was delightful and Velma and Roxie's finale ("Nowadays") was pure Hollywood.But Wendy did not do it alone as she was assisted by Helen and Danni Starkey and Shelley White.
The twelve piece orchestra sounded great headed by Carolyn Necklen, and loved hearing a banjo in there (Richard James). Bright, brassy and bouncy with plenty of razzle as well as dazzle.
With this being the High School Edition, I was not expecting to hear "Cell Block Tango", due to some of the more adult details within the lyrics, but fair play to everyone for delivering an amazing version of this and delivering it with a mature presentation. There are however some songs that do not appear in the movie soundtrack, which I had forgotten about, so there was a lot of music to get through which made the flow non stop.
Loved the costumes (Lorna North), especially Velma's and Roxie's.
Loved the Lighting Design (James White) and the Set Design.
The sound could have been a tad louder in parts for the mics but i still caught every word, so I ain't gonna moan about that.
Kevin Spencer must also get a mention for his stage management and keeping everything flowing and the pace up.
Many people will also know that i love accents, and I am so pleased to announce that every single actor kept that American accent constant throughout. i was well impressed.
This cast had me razzled dazzled by their talents, and it's as clear as cellophane that these stars will continue to shine bright in the coming years.
“Chicago” is at Iveshead Theatre in Iveshead School, Shepshed until Saturday 1 February.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

“Ghost – The Musical” by Kristian Thomas Company
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton
“Ghost – The Musical” follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose lives takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. The bond of love transcends the boundaries of life itself to grow stronger and more fully realized.
Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a dodgy psychic, Oda Mae Brown, who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death.
“Ghost” the movie is one of my guilty pleasures where movies are concerned, and the stage musical, which I have seen several times on both local and professional levels works so well, when in theory, it shouldn’t.
The effects that the movie utilises are incredible, and would be impossible to relate to a stage production, but there is that magic in theatre that allows a fraction of those movie effects to become “do-able” on stage.
I've always said that the lighting design and execution can make or break a production. In this case it is a vital element and is executed with split section timing. Designed by Stephen Greatorex and operated by Tom Bathurst, this is possibly the best design and use that I have ever seen for this musical, giving the maximum impact and effect on the audience, also creating the stage magic.
What you may notice as well is that along the front of the stage there are four strips of light, I don't know the technical name for these lights, but you will notice that these mirror the movements of Sam when he becomes a ghost. This works especially well when Sam is not visible on stage near the end; you know that he is sitting near Molly just by looking at the lights. A simple but incredibly effective idea.
The Sound Design is also spot on. It is loud when it needs to be, again creating drama, but never swamping the actors singing or speaking sections.Another big success for Dave Dallard.
I don't often mention the stage crew and management but in "Ghost", the rapidity and accuracy of the scene changes works exceptionally well with the design and operation of the light blackouts. This means that the scene changes happen within seconds, keeping the pace and excitement of the show flowing at speed. Bob Rushton, Lauren Johnson, Millie Gilks and Claire Collishaw are responsible for this area of expertise.
Directed by Alysha Gomes, and she must be one very proud person with this show because technically it is not an easy one, but this is a massive success. She has directed a show that is visually exciting to watch while keeping a high emotional impact on the audience. Nothing seems to have been sacrificed here, and you can see the blood, sweat and tears invested in this production. This quality is the reason why this show is sold out all week.
Musically this show goes from one extreme to the other but this is no issue when the Musical Director is Tom Bond.From the heavy rap of "Focus" to the heart wrenching ballad "With You" and the soul/gospel of "Are You A Believer",Tom and his band produce a premier sound. maybe Tom should change his name to Premium Bond.
The choreography for this show is another section where you can see a lot of hard work has been invested. Again, visually exciting, and the timings for the slow motion sections, and the impact of these sections are a joy to behold. Kristian Cunningham as Producer and Choreographer again delivers the perfect piece of theatre.
Andrew Buxton (Sam) could not have been better cast. I have seen Andrew do passion and I have seen Andrew do anger. I have not seen Andrew do passion and anger like this. He creates a special chemistry with Sam and Molly, so hot it sizzles, and we really believe that love the two characters have for each other. We also feel the heartache that they both feel when Sam is murdered. Love Sam's voice and he injects such feeling into these songs.
Anna Bond (Molly), what did you do to me, Anna? Your rendition of "With You" hit just where it should have done and I found myself welling up because of the passion and heart you delivered with, not only this song, but all the songs you sang. As previously mentioned, the chemistry between Molly and Sam was electric, and this is down to the investment of both actors.
I must also mention the final scene between these two, because yet again, I was welling up, and felt emotionally spent. i couldn't wait to get to my feet to show my personal respect to all of the wonderful actors on stage.
Chris Grantham (Carl) plays a great badman, so good in fact that when he came on to take his final bows, he was booed! Come on, this isn't panto, but this also shows that he made the audience believe the evil in this character. I also love Chris' voice; it has an earthy quality which is easy on the ear, but there is also a lot of power in those lungs as well.
Candice Shevaun Curnow (Oda Mae), you were amazing. I loved Whoopi Goldberg's creation of the crazy psychic in the film, but Candice made this character her own, oh and that voice. WOW!
Along with Ella Greenwood (Louise) and Grace Hodgett-Young (Clara), both young actors I have had the pleasure of seeing grow on stage as actors, the three of you brought the gospel party to the show. These three can take me to church any day of the week.
Tom Banks (Willie Lopez) was quite unrecognisable as the man who kills Sam in a bungled mugging. Very different to the last role that I saw Tom in as Robbie Hart in "The Wedding Singer". His voice characterisation for Willie, and his physicality of the character is what made this chameleon of an actor the talent he is.
Joe Millward must feel like going in for therapy every time he performs as the Subway Ghost because he is so angry, and releasing that anger must make him feel great after each show, as well as tired, I imagine.
Phil Stanley as the Hospital Ghost is the opposite of the Subway Ghost. Now whenever I see Phil's name in a programme, I just know that we are in for some real soulful vocals, and here they are again. Those chocolate covered, honey dripping vocals are put to wonderful use in "You Gotta Let Go Now".
This is a real ensemble show with the singing and dancing. The ensemble are crammed with so many well known local actors and they all deserve a mention.
Abby RiddellAiden Carson, Andy Honman, Ben AlveyBeth Denham, Betsymae Kirkland-Ball, Charlotte Carradice, Deborah McPhersonEmily BridgeEmily May Corner, Emma Foley, Helen Perry, Katie LawsonLouise GranthamLucas YoungLydia Thacker, Madison Brooks-Brown, Relma Frost and Siân Scattergood were like watching a well oiled machine.
This production has literally everything that you could want from an amazing show. It has passion, it has anger, it has great vocals, incredible acting, theatre magic, great sound and light and it has heart and emotion. It certainly got to me but then again I love the film, and am like a girlie when it's on TV, so seeing this just feet away from me makes the story and the action all the more real.
If you don't have a ticket for this show, then you won't stand a ghost of a chance in getting one, unless there are any cancellations or returns, so it may be worth checking the box office; but you'd be a fool to give up your ticket for this show.
"Ghost The Musical" is at the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton until Saturday 1 February, but as I type, it is SOLD OUT.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

“Mack & Mabel” by Christchurch Theatre Club
Loughborough Town Hall
Based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, Mack & Mabel received eight Tony Award nominations when it opened on Broadway in 1974.
A Brooklyn deli-delivery girl turns up on the set of silent movie director, Mack Sennet, creator of the Keystone Cops. She catches his eye and soon his heart. Before long Mabel Normand is starring in Sennett's two-reel movies and together they bring glamour to the silver screen.
But showbiz and ambition make for a tempestuous relationship. Out of the Silent Movie era and the heady heights of 1920s Hollywood, Mack and Mabel tells of the love story of two of its greatest legends; director Mack Sennett 'The King of Comedy' and his star, comedienne Mabel Normand.
This is one of those musicals that does not have the happiest of endings, and apart from saying that, I'm not going to tell you why, or what happens.
Gareth Wynne emerges from the orchestra pit to show that he has everything it takes to be a romantic leading man in Max Sennett, with a powerful voice to match.
Holly Easter,as Mabel, is another perfect casting. I knew that she has an incredible voice, and we get to hear just how incredible those vocal tones are in this show. This is also Holly's first lead role, hard to believe I know! Brilliantly Directed as well by Julie Easter.
Ania Zeman plays Lottie Ames,an actress in Sennett's empire. we get to hear Lottie's lovely vocals and her brilliant tapping talents. In the "Tap Your Troubles Away" section, Ania effortlessly sails through quite a long section wonderfully.
With the tap ensemble, you can see, and hear the hard work put in because all ten tappers, if you closed your eyes, sounded as if there were just the one. Each tap was heard just once, and that is something that is not as easy as it sounds. The proof of an excellent ensemble and a wonderful tap choreographer with Frankie Johnson.
These three mains are backed by some very well known actors in local theatre; a cast that as soon as you see their names, guarantees an exciting and professional show.
Ollie Lewin (Frank Wyman), Jack Hardy (Mr Baumann), Jordan Cope (Mr Kessell), Jarrod Makin (William Desmond Taylor), Carl Unwin (Roscoe "Fatty" Arbickle), Craig Butterworth (Andy), Anita Benson (Ella), Vicky Mee (Iris), Amy McMurray (Phyllis Foster) and Guy Benson (The Watchman).
One of the scenes that really does need a mention is the scene where the Keystone Kops are featured. The choreography of this scene is one of the most clever and inspired, with audible gasps from the audience being plainly heard several times.
Vicki Hing is the Musical Director, and as soon as I saw this, just knew the sound was going to be amazing. I was not wrong. The lush arrangements created by this 19 strong orchestra was an aural delight.
Just listening to the harmonies created by this cast and ensemble, you can imagine these stage scenes coming direct from one of the classic Hollywood movies. The sound is heavenly.
Most musical theatre fans will know the main song from the show in "I Won't Send Roses", but there are so many other memorable songs from this soundtrack."Look What Happened To Mabel", "Mack & Mabel", "I Wanna Make The World Laugh", "When Mabel Comes Into the Room", "Tap Your Troubles Away" and the gorgeous "Time Heals Everything".
The Sound Design for this show was crystal clear. I could hear every word and the orchestra/actors sound mix was perfect. Rob Temperton is the man responsible for this perfection, assisted by Harry Bridge.
Lighting Design for this show is by Robert Bridges and really adds that glitter to the show.
The Set Design, by Scenic Projects, is everything you could ask for from the Hollywood 1920's era.
I mentioned Frankie Johnson as the tap choreographer, and there were many other gorgeous choreographed pieces, as you's imagine for the Hollywood era. Michael Gamble has done an excellent job, as he always does.
Loved the costumes and wigs for the show. they brought that 1920's glamour to life.
Even if sometimes I don't mention negatives in some of the reviews that i produce, with this show, i honestly did not find one negative thing at all. The show is as smooth as silk and would easily pass as a professional touring production if you didn't know.
This is another excellent production from Christchurch Theatre Club, and one you should not miss out on.
“Mack & Mabel” is at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 1 February.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

“Nell Gwynn” by Jessica Swales
Lace Market Theatre
London, 1660. King Charles II has exploded onto the scene with a love of all things extravagant and sexy. And in the West End, a young Nell Gwynn is causing a stir amongst the theatregoers...
This is a warm-hearted, bawdy comedy which tells of the rise of an unlikely heroine, from her impoverished roots as an orange seller to her success as Britain's most celebrated actress, winning the adoration of the public and the heart of the King. But at a time when women are second-class citizens, will her charm and spirit be enough to protect her from the dangers of the Court?
This is the third time that I'd seen "Nell Gwynn", but this production seems so different to the ones that I'd seen previously, and strange as this may seem, it must be down to the Director and the cast.
Georgia Wray as Nell is a class act, going from selling her oyster, to selling oranges, to selling a character as an actor. A lovely Cockney charm, but all the way through, Georgia gave Nell a supreme confidence, letting us know that she was in charge of her own life.Georgia also gets to air her vocal chords in some very saucy, innuendo filled music hall ditties.
Georgie Sandland plays Rose Gwynn, gets the hard task of being the go-between, the link that tried to keep the connection between Nell and her Mother
Linda Croston doubles as Ma Gwynn as well as Queen Catherine, and also is responsible for sourcing all of the wonderful costumes in this periodic romp. I had to really peer at Linda in this role as she is practically unrecognisable - possibly because every time I see Linda she always looks so glam. In this down trodden role, and with that wonderful accent, you'd not connect the two. A wonderful piece of character acting.
Harrison Lee plays the flamboyant Edward Kynaston, who is in danger of losing his reign as London’s main female character actor, to a female actor in the shape of Nell. Just the right side of camp without going over the top. There is a wonderful scene explaining "the language of the fan" that is sublimely comical.
Trev Clarke (Thomas Killigrew), played the dramatist and theatre manager, succeeding in bringing the wit of the character alive.
Matthew Thomason (Charles Hart) for me, made me smile the most with his foppish and over the top physicality as Hart. if you're going to sell a move or speech, then oversell it, and that is what Matthew did.Even down to his facial expressions, everything was delivered to the back row of the theatre. loved this role and characterisation.A wonderful masterclass in how to exaggerate for the ultimate comic effect.
Richard Fife (John Dryden), again delivered a sterling performance as the playwright, whose ideas seem to bear a resemblance to some other works of literature for some reason. I don't ever remember Richard giving a less than perfect performance, and this is another great one to add to that CV.
Alison Hope (Nancy) does comic roles so well and this is a brilliant role for a comedy actor. That is one thing you'll find with Swale's work; she knows how to write for women exceptionally well. This role shows just how forthright and humorous women from this period were. I loved the scene where Nancy was subbing in the play within this play and the "ham" actor was shown, something that you just can't level at Alison's acting skills.
Connor Jones (Ned Spiggett), again made me smile as the "actor in training" in Dryden's prologue, making a bit of a hash of the prologue, which allows us to be introduced to Nell at the start of the play. loved the Welsh accent, and also the comic one liners and quips Ned got to deliver. Another fun character in a play full of fun characters.
Jamie Goodliffe (King Charles), like Charles Hart was wonderfully over the top in everything that he did, including his amorous pursuits. Think Leslie Phillips crossed with Sid James and that is pretty close to this characterisation. Brilliant fun and I loved the Franglais scene, reminiscent of "Allo Allo".
David Dunford (Lord Arlington) plays Charles' chief minister, and a bit of a baddie as he tries to thwart the romance between Nell and the King.
Clare Moss (Lady Castlemaine/Louisa de Keroualle) shines in both roles, but it's the French Louisa de Keroualle that gives Clare the chance to show her comedy heels with the faux French accent. There is a scene where she attends the play with Charles, thinking that she will outshine Nell but Nell appears on stage with a look that puts Louisa in the shadows on more than one way!
Directed by Dave Partridge, in his first involvement with the Lace Market Theatre, makes a fine debut. Saying that, he is no stranger to the stage as he has a very credible CV where the stage is concerned and is a fine addition to the Lace Market Theatre’s talented group. Dave is assisted in this role by Linda Croston and between them they produce a very entertaining and comical romp.
Dave Partridge and Mark James together are responsible for the Set Design which is sparse but works really well. the idea to have all of the actors on stage, but at the back and the side where you could see them was an inspired idea.
Lighting Design by Simon Carter and Sound Design by Matt Allcock transported us back in time perfectly.
Wardrobe credits go to Linda Croston and Marie Morehen and was a visual treat.
You can only come to the conclusion that the cast absolutely loved performing this play. The speed of the story shows that a lot of hard work has gone into the timing and pace of the story, making sure there is not one second that you'll not be entertained by this wonderfully talented cast and crew.
Tonight looked to be a sold out show, and I know that Friday and Saturday are also sold out, so if you want to get the chance to see this bawdy comedy, you better get a move on and get your tickets
“Nell Gwynn” is at the Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 1 February.

Monday, 27 January 2020

“Priscilla Queen Of the Desert”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Welcome to camp Priscilla as the big pink bus rolls back into Nottingham, and you don't get any camper than this!
This is one of my favourite feel good and fun musicals and it’s back in town. Packed with a ton of toe tapping hits from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. This is probably my fifth or sixth time that I have seen this musical and one that I always look forward to seeing again, and it never disappoints.
The score is like being at your favourite retro parties; “It’s Raining Men”, “Finally”, “I Will Survive”, “Hot Stuff”, “Colour My World”, “I Love The Nightlife”, "MacArthur Park" the list goes on.
Based on the 1994 film, it takes us on the epic journey of three friends - two drag queens and a transgender woman - across the Australian outback. Boarding their battered tour bus 'Priscilla', they set out to put on the show of a lifetime, a mission full of fun and laughter, but one with a very serious reason behind it.
Heading for Alice Springs, Tick will finally get to meet his six-year-old son, Benji, the pals find themselves fighting, sometimes literally, against the homophobic locals, and have to repaint their bus, pink, to cover up the anti-gay graffiti daubed on it. The reunion of the father and son is wonderfully played out with a lovely version of “Always On My Mind” being performed by Joe McFadden.
Joe McFadden plays Tick/Mitzi, Nick Hayes (Adam/Felicia) and
Miles Western (Bernadette) are just an amazing trio,and all very different.
Miles Western looked so convincing as a woman and, to me resembled Lauren Bacall with all of the style, class and grace.Bernadette's back story is revealed throughout and is sensitively done.
Nick Hayes played the loose cannon of the three characters, but it's the change from the spunky outspoken Felicia to the beaten and emotional Adam that shows the human side of the character.
Joe McFadden, you really get to appreciate what a wonderful character actor he is. I've watched Joe on TV in various roles, but on stage he makes playing this drag queen look easy, and in those heels as well! Tick has a wife and six year old son who he has not met. Tick/Mitzi is a two part character and he is nervous about the two being exposed to his son, as he wants to make a good impression.
This musical provides many great social messages and the reaction of Benji, played by Tom Cross and, the actor I think we saw tonight, Harry George, just shows that kids will accept anyone and anything for who and what they are, and prejudice is not inbred.
Daniel Fletcher (Bob) plays the mechanic who saves the day by getting Priscilla back on the road,and finds love on the way.
Miranda Wilford (Marion) is Benji's mother and ex husband of Tick, who decides that it's time that Tick met Benji, so pulls in a favour, asking him to perform at the Casino, the club that she runs.
Kevin Yates (Miss Understanding) is sauce on legs, and what legs! She jokes with the front row at the start and releases her Tina Turner moves with her number "What's Love Got To Do With It"
Jacqui Sanchez (Cynthia) plays Bob's wife with an eye-popping performance that turns out to be a hard act to follow. Great fun but so politically incorrect.
The three Divas, Aiesha Pease, Claudia Kariuki and Rosie Glossop, have incredible soul voices and look amazing as well. they really get the party started with an explosive "It's Raining Men"
The ensemble work their butts off with some high-kicking and energetic choreographed pieces by Thom Jackson-Greaves.
Jason Donovan is the Producer and Ian Talbot Directs this fast moving, and you'll be able to see just how fast this show is when the three perform at The Casino., They ensure that there is never a dull moment in this musical.
Musical Director is Sean Green, and the sound for this show is bright and pitched at just the right sound level.
This show would not be the spectacle it is without those incredible costumes, wigs and garish make up
It's a heart-warming tale of courage, self-acceptance, and new beginnings, all delivered with a ton of attitude. But let me come back to the music for a second. You can hear a song delivered and enjoy it. You can then hear it sung with a different arrangement, in a different situation and sung by the opposite sex of what you're used to,and the message comes across very different. That is what I love about this musical. It makes you think about the lyrics, how it is delivered and by whom and can turn those feelings and meanings on their head.
Listen to Cyndi Lauper's "True Colours" in the different context in this musical and it will have you welling up. The same with "Always On My Mind" and "I Say A Little Prayer".
Despite all the laughs though, there is the very real message surrounding homophobia and bigotry, which is eventually overcome by tolerance and compassion. But it still reminds us that the LGBTQ community still have a battle on their hands with small minded people. Being different is something that should be celebrated and not hidden or beaten down.
You will leave this show on a high, thanks to the story and the soundtrack, but also thanks to the high energy feel from the whole cast, so if you can, get yourself a ticket and be prepared to party.
“Priscilla” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 1 February.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

"Puss In Boots" by Ravenshead Theatre Group.
Ravenshead Village Hall.
Written by Ben Crocker, who is a professional playwright and pantomime writer, and billed as "the purrfect pantomime", so who am I to disagree with this statement.
It's a traditional panto with a couple of topical nods, a great choice of music and, this afternoon, a very excitable and interactive audience.
The story is of two lovable buffoons, Jasper (Rob Hurst)and Jethro (Terry Cox), two miller's sons and their step-brother, Jack (Sarah Tryner), who we join on the reading of their father's will. Jasper and Jethro are left practically everything and Jack is left with a silver shilling and the family cat (Elizabeth Terry).
The Cat manages to spend their silver shilling on a bag with boots in, and as soon as the Cat puts these on, she gets the power to talk and grows to become Puss In Boots (Laura Stevenson).
This is also on the same day as Queen Wendy (Catherine Buckley) and King Wally (Adam Hague) arrive in town, penniless looking for a rich suitor for their daughter, Princess Esmerelda (Helen Berry).
Meanwhile the nasty Grimgrab The Ogre (Andy Cook),with the help of the bad fairy Pernicia (Julie Cox) have other ideas. With the help of Pernicia's good fairy sister, Priscilla (Lucy Johnson), Grimgrab's plan is thwarted.
This is such a beautifully presented and performed panto that you can't help but really get into the action from the very start.
Well Directed by Mandy Buckley and Ann-Marie Butler, there is a constant flow of action, making this a pacy show, ensuring the time flew by.
Some wonderful performances by Rob and Terry as the two simpletons looking for love with Babs (Sue Bishton) and Betty (Hazel O Connell), two local village girls, both ladies gave lovely character driven performances, matching Rob and Terry. Oh, and loved that wig, Terry.
Another wonderfully well cast pairing was in Sarah and Helen, who really looked like they were having a brilliant time on stage.
This panto is full of strong pairings and with the incredibly posh Queen and can't get a word in edgeways King, Catherine and Adam bounced off of each other so well. Almost like a panto version of "Keeping Up Appearances". Both great fun to watch and you could tell the audience were just waiting for King Wally to become more forceful, and when that happened the audience reacted.
Andy Cook, as the main badman was also well cast as he has the height and stature worked well for him as the Ogre. Julie, as always, is wonderful fun to watch on stage and extracted every last "booo" from the audience.
Keeping the action flowing and keeping us updated on what was happening was the Royal Page, Bobbie, played by John Birch.
This cast worked so well together and with the inclusion of some of the Youth Group that they have at Ravenshead, they gave some spotlight time for some very confident young actors.
The other cast members, because they all deserve their mention in this fun packed, purrfect, post Christmas panto are as follows
The Killer Rabbits, Mr Wigglenose (Jacques Hurst), Mr Fluffy (Caleb Ryde) and Mr CheekyCottonBottom (Fotis Manolas), complete with leather jackets and menacing looks.
Pat James (The Princess's Maid), plus the villagers, Courtiers, and Guards played by Phillipa Adamson, Rojin Altuntas, Oliver Glover, Jacques Hurst, Lucy Johnson, Fotis Manolas, Caleb Ryde, Jessica Street and James Terry.
The lighting is by Katie Peet and Laura Stevenson and the sound by Daniel Andrews. The costumes were brilliant, thanks to Lin Baggarley and Val Marland, and some brilliant make up by Catherine Buckley.
I've said it several times throughout, but this is such a fun, pacy show, and knowing some of this cast and technical crew, I know the level of hard work that has gone into this production, and that has all paid off with a brilliantly entertaining piece of theatre, suitable for everyone from the very young to the very young's parents and their parents, and beyond.
And can I also just mention the friendly Front of House and bar staff as well.
"Puss In Boots" is at Ravenshead Village Hall until Sunday 26 January.