"Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum, PANTO!"
by Cheryl Rowlands for remotegoat on 03/11/18

This was the first show in the run of Pantomimes by Oooh Arrr Productions for Christmas 2018, directed by Artistic Director, Jack Turner, with Technical Direction Jamie Edmundson of ED-Monster Events.

There are actually three sets of cast in this run: Team Sparkle appearing until 15th December, Team Twinkle, appearing from 15th December onward, and Team Glisten who are at The Brixham Theatre in Devon from 3rd-8th December. I was watching Team Sparkle kick off the run. They comprised of a small cast of only three – Jack, played by Petra Jones, Dame Trott, played by Jon Bard and Fairy Flatter, Jill and Daisy all portrayed by Ashleigh Edwards.

It was lovely to see pretty much a full House for this inaugural performance, full of families with children all eagerly anticipating the show. Sleigh bells signalled the start and the audience quietened – until – uh oh! Audience Participation right from the off! “It’s behind you!” the audience were encouraged to shout, and they jumped in and gave it all they had.

Dame Trott came into the audience to find a boyfriend and discovered audience member, Will (“My very own Prince William!”). He appeared quite pleased to have been chosen!

Petra and Ashleigh had good singing voices when stationary (“All of Me Loves All of You” was very nice), Dame Trott made a valiant effort, but I don’t think singing is “her” strong point!

The audience received the traditional spraying with “milk” after some pretty shocking milk gags – all good fun! The children loved that and it happened on more than one occasion.

The children loved approaching the stage and really got stuck in with joining in with songs and screaming “He’s behind you!” when the ghost came on, which was lovely, and it was very funny to see their reaction when the Giant’s footsteps were heard and they ran screaming back to their Mums! It didn’t take them long to head back towards the front of the stage though!

It is a shame that some of the songs were a little out of tune, but they got the children well involved in singing along with the songs and marching during “500 Miles”. A 15 minute interval ensured that both cast and audience had time to rest and refresh ready for the second half and more singing.

The Programmes were very nice with photos and little bios of each of the three teams of cast members. It would be nice to see something about the Production Team also as the hard-working people backstage often get forgotten about and it is always good to see who is doing what. A photo in the programmes of the Production Team would be a nice touch.

As the lights went down for the second half, children began to approach the stage once more. When Dame Trott appeared and started throwing sweets out into the audience, they were running forward in droves!
More singing with the children joining in – “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” always goes down well and the song that has become Oooh Arrr’s Festive tradition (their own version of “Twelve Days of Christmas” was frenetic and chaotic, but fun.

The finale song, the Wizzard classic “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” went down well with the audience clapping and singing along, and when the cast came out to meet the audience and pose for photos with the children, they had no shortage of takers.

All in all, a good first performance to help get you and the young family in the festive mood this Christmas.

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