A sure way for a writer or artist to achieve a special place in history is to die young, preferably in dramatic circumstances. Joe Orton built a substantial reputation while he was alive, a reputation that was in no way diminished by his being bludgeoned to death by his homosexual lover at the age of 34. It is intriguing if fruitless to speculate on what he might have achieved had he lived (he would have been 82 now), because age has generally not improved the work he left behind.

The Pantomime Adventures of Robin Hood

When asked to go see and review this show, I thought to myself – “11:00 in the morning?  For a show?  Really?”  But, then I get there and I see why it A) works and B) is popular.


I have had the privilege to watch several of the Broadstone pantomimes over the last few years and it has always amazed me that somehow they manage to achieve a village pantomime feel - although, to the casual observer, Broadstone is a virtually contiguous suburb of the large conurbation which is Poole.  The 'shoehorn' capacity of the hall is listed as 180, but 100 or so is probably more realistic and its acoustics are such that Broadstone Pantomime Productions doesn't use amplification and the musical accompaniment consists of the familiar figure of Jean Roach on upright piano - it all seems to work and the vocal projection of most of the performers ought to be instructive to so many modern performers, who are lost without a personal mic.    This opening night performance played to a capacity crowd, which included a host of brownies and their associated guiders.


I must admit that I have not been to a pantomime in many years, and I have to say how pleasant a surprise it was to start off 2015 by walking down to the Mowlem theatre to be embraced with the kind of stagecraft talent this town has to offer.

Sleeping Beauty

ANOTHER day, another panto and another smashing evening; in fact, as the Lord Chamberlain himself would say, it wath abtholutely thuper - so I shall completely disregard the fact that I was whacked on the back by a huge balloon at one point in the proceedings, and that Nanny Nora didn’t give me a sweet. Not that I’m sulking or anything. Oh no. But I have arranged to borrow that Book of Spells from Carabosse...


I take great comfort in the fact that some things never change: many, many years ago – you really don’t want to know just how long, but I was only 11 or 12 at the time – a friend’s sister was in a pantomime at her school, and we went along to see it. I can’t remember which panto it was; in fact I can remember only one thing about it, which was that they sang ‘If I Were Not In Pantomime’. I loved it then and tonight, when Buttons, Prince Charming and Dandini gave us their own manic take on the song, I sat there with a silly grin on my face, loving it all over again.

Christmas Spectacular

Returning for a fourth year to the Regent Centre, Christmas Spectacular brings magic and sparkle to the festive season. It’ so much more than a Christmas variety show, with a storyline linking the songs and moving the performance forward. When Santa and his helpers in the North Pole get a visit from Gregory Thriftpenny and his assistant, Pumpkin, it looks like Christmas fun is over. Fear not though, Santa’s workers don’t let this get in the way of their Christmas joy.

A Christmas Carol

CHARLES Dickens’ classic story is as much a part of Christmas as turkey and mince pies and it was a real pleasure to watch Dorset Corset’s production in the atmospheric setting of the lovely Shelley Theatre.

A Merry Little Christmas

IN the ten years or so since they moved back to Andrew’s home county, Andrew and Jacqui Foan have gathered a formidable reputation as teachers of singing. Young people in particular seem to respond to them, and several local operatic and musical theatre companies have been grateful for a source of singers who have been able to bring a much-needed element of youth to productions before going off to further education. Often that education has been at a music college, since the Foans have an impressive record of opening up such opportunities for their students.

Jekyll and Hyde

IN his programme notes, writer John Foster states ‘Jekyll and Hyde is one of the greatest doppelganger stories ever written and is a very appropriate dramatization for Doppelganger Productions. It is very exciting to present their version in the atmospheric and historic surroundings of The Shelley Theatre.’  In these words we learn about the intentions of this Company and I think it is fair to say (as his notes also suggest) that all of the audience attending this production will of course be familiar with this story whilst prepared to digest new plot variations and twists as we see this story ‘updated to the twenty-first Century’, although not every production has two oh- so- different characters playing what is best known as one role, though of two very different dimensions.


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