Review of SHADES 2018 Pantomime


Puss in Boots Review by Linda Williams

SHADES 2018 pantomime Puss in Boots was a "purrfect" antidote to cold, dark January nights and had audiences purring with delight! Audiences packed the Arbuthnot Hall in Shamley Green on 25th, 26th and two performances on 27th January 2018.

Based on the traditional story, our anti-hero, Marcus Mills the Miller's son played by Tasha Haycraft with dash and skill, falls for the beautiful Princess Fiona, a charming Katie Haycraft. Both with lovely voices, their songs together were excellent.

An endearing and well-played Puss in Boots, Lucy Cumming, is given some magic boots, which transform the cat into a talking and can do puss. She successfully schemes to turn her penniless friend Marcus into the rich Marquis of Carabas by killing the evil ogre, Charles Cumming, a truly frightening green, and winning the hand of the beautiful princess.

Along the way, we meet some great characters. Dame Millie Mills played in true Dame style by JP Judson gave us lots of laughs. His sons Rufus and Dufus, brothers to Marcus, performed very well as a comedy duo and gave us lots of laughs too. Rufus played by Alfie Proctor as the intelligent brother to intellectually challenged Dufus, Carl Harmer.

 We were treated to another comedy duo, this time a dastardly pair of villains Creeper, Donna Jones and Reaper, Rebecca Varcoe. They both pulled out all the stops with their acting skills and singing to give us two great creatures on the dark side. Joining team evil was Ron Bailey reprising his iconic role as Igor.

No pantomime is complete without a charming fairy and Sonia Chapman was a sparkling Fairy Poppins. There was also some great character acting from Alex Paris-Jones as the Shoemaker and Taxman. Peter Palmer and Diane Littlewood were purrfect as the King and Queen of Shamley Green.

Special mention should be made of the chorus of villagers, ghouls, guards, water nymphs and courtiers played by Lynne Bramble, Abbie Mains, Ellie Morrice, Alex Paris-Jones and Clare Stevens who sang and danced their way through the pantomime with great gusto. Clare Stevens provided them with some admirable choreography and kept the cast moving well.

Music maestro Chris Snelling and percussionist Mark Stammers excelled as usual at the musical numbers and wonderful costumes were provided by Marion Cozens.

Directors and producers Clare Stevens, Diane Littlewood and Jan Cornwell did a great job producing yet another slick and entertaining pantomime from Clare Truman's excellent script.

Once again SHADES will be giving a donation to Challengers, and would like to thank the audiences for their support.

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