Sunninghill and South Ascot Parish Magazine – Theatre Review

Little Tommy Tucker sang for his supper – What shall we give him…?

White bread or brown bread and a scrape of butter? Well brown bread, of course, because it’s full of healthy laughter and interesting bits of nutritious fibre! And a scrape of butter? No, lashings of it, because, despite what the so-called experts say, it really is good for us, straight from the Quince tree!

I know I said this about last year’s panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, but I have to say it again – the back-stage crew and the choreographers really should take a bow, as the scenery and props were brilliant – as were the many dance routines performed by the competent cast
 and children of the chorus (all girls this time, where are the 
boys? Are they 
getting paid too 
much?) There were 
so many complex
 steps and moves to 
learn but they were all carried out to perfection.

The songs were just right (some of them I didn’t know, but my teenage granddaughter soon put me right with that!). Our party consisted on 7 bodies ranging from 5, through 35 to 75, all eager to enjoy our night out – and we did, we really did, every one of us. We nearly lost the 5-year old afterwards, who ran off down King’s Road singing away to her little heart’s content, filled with the excitement of what she had just witnessed. The little 4-piece band were an excellent accompaniment to the accomplished singing and dancing. Sunninghill’s own pop orchestra!

Andrew Darling was perfect as Ditty, the archetypal Pantomime Dame and popular singing teacher, a bit strapped for cash. His encouragement in audience participation was skilled and none too subtle approach to the art of being a dame. In fact, the much- maligned Benny, beautifully portrayed by
Mark Holliday, who was looking to the musical South Pacific for his song of choice, Some Enchanted Evening, might well have chosen There is Nothing Like a Dame instead! To portray an awful singer when you are really quite good must be excrutiatingly difficult (I know this, of course, from real life).

Simon Shaw, in the title role of Tommy Tucker had a commanding presence and a really strong voice (I know of a local operatic society that’s looking for good young tenors, nod nod wink wink). Often people who are good singers, are not good actors, but he really made us believe he could win through sheer force of personality.

Nick Teale is a delight as the horrible Doctor Discord (RAM) and draws our boos and hisses as easily as Andrew Darling draws our cheers and community singing (certainly a few of the cub- scouts sitting behind us were keen to offer good advice to poor old Andrew who dealt with it in time-honoured manner). Is there a Scout badge in shouting as loud as you can on offer these days?

I wish I had space to pick out all individual performances, but that would take up most of the magazine, although I have to mention the two principal girls, Joanne Chapman as Melody and Toria Lander as Sophie who both sang really well and added some glamour to the proceedings. Toria, especially who had to portray an alter ego as the evil Ivana Curseum. She took on Fiona Barker’s bad side persona with ease.

It has to be said that this really was a team effort and the Directors, Patrick McCarthy and Tracy Corbett are to be congratulated on pulling together an ensemble that really fed into one another and produced a cracking Panto. Just the thing for this dismal time of the year after Christmas.

Mike Cross – Sunninghill and South Ascot Parish Magazine


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