Puss in Boots panto by Colaton Raleigh Players was 'the cat's whiskers'

PUBLISHED: 09:53 09 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 09 March 2019

Brothers Hector and Casper played by Claire Blackwell and Dave Merrifield, with Gruesome played by David Zirker. Picture: Colaton Raleigh Players

Brothers Hector and Casper played by Claire Blackwell and Dave Merrifield, with Gruesome played by David Zirker. Picture: Colaton Raleigh Players

D.C.Holliday

A strong cast, impressive costumes and some wonderful scenery in this community production

The Lord Chamberlain, played by Stephanie Turner, Queen Fanny the Fifth played by Sue Simpson and Freckles played  by Chris Silverthorne. Picture: Colaton Raleigh PlayersThe Lord Chamberlain, played by Stephanie Turner, Queen Fanny the Fifth played by Sue Simpson and Freckles played by Chris Silverthorne. Picture: Colaton Raleigh Players

In an enchanting community production which brought performers of all ages together under the experienced direction of Chrissy Brimacombe, the Colaton Raleigh Players delighted audiences with their pantomime, Puss in Boots.

As Mother Goose, Doreen Kociuba introduced us to Arcadia, ‘a land lost in time’ and was an eloquent and polished narrator throughout.

After a strong start with a hearty rendition of 525,600 Minutes we were introduced to Peter, a down-on-his-luck miller’s son, tricked out of his inheritance by his roguish, but stupid, brothers Hector and Casper. As this dense duo, Claire Blackwell and Dave Merrifield helped provide the generic panto fodder of farce and sparked off each other well.

Players’ favourite Anya Hawtin gave a faultless performance as clean-cut hero Peter and his/her love interest Princess Miranda, was another piece of insightful casting as Jessica Merrifield proved herself more than capable. The pair were strongly supported by Sophie Newport and Lettie Cunningham as the village sweethearts Jack Spratt and Marjory Daw.

Sue Simpson as Queen Fanny the Fifth and Jessica Merrifield as Princess Miranda. Picture; Colaton Raleigh Players.Sue Simpson as Queen Fanny the Fifth and Jessica Merrifield as Princess Miranda. Picture; Colaton Raleigh Players.

As the Queen’s love interest Chris Silverthorne was an engaging Freckles; his relaxed interaction with the audience helped the production become a two-way experience. Well cast as the ‘positively ghastly’ villain Gruesome, David Zirker made a strong Players’ debut with some dastardly cackles and cutting one-liners. Glamorous and exuberant Queen Fanny the Fifth oozed panto pizazz from the outset - another stand-out performance by Sue Simpson. Stephanie Turner was a delight as the Queen’s humble Lord Chamberlain. It was great to see Judy Barber back - with charisma and swagger she shone as the perfect Puss in Boots.

As previously, the costumes and set were impressive – the circus backdrop and glistening fountain were particularly effective.

John Davies was exceptional as musical maestro. A few prompts were required, but generally the pace flowed well and certainly did Robbins’ script justice.

Panto is flexible and a couple of contemporary musical numbers in amongst the golden oldies would have been welcome, especially for the youngsters.

The Lord Chamberlain, played by Stephanie Turner, Queen Fanny the Fifth played by Sue Simpson and Freckles played  by Chris Silverthorne. Picture: Colaton Raleigh PlayersThe Lord Chamberlain, played by Stephanie Turner, Queen Fanny the Fifth played by Sue Simpson and Freckles played by Chris Silverthorne. Picture: Colaton Raleigh Players

Supported by a strong chorus and a delightful contingent of children and with Sheila Pink and Sarah Hayes as Crunchbones and the Gypsy, this stellar cast and the strong team behind them, did themselves proud – well done to all involved!

EMMA COOLING

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