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.

No Name

MOST people will have heard of Wilkie Collins’ novel The Woman In White, but his 1862 No Name, serialised in a popular magazine before being turned into a novel, has been shamefully neglected – until now.

Sing Noël!

MY diary for the next two weeks is, like most people’s, filled with all manner of Christmas events ranging from panto and seasonal plays to carol concerts. I’ve already spent my first “he’s behind you” evening, and tonight was the first of the carol concerts. Wow, what a way to start.

Jack And His Beanstalk

A few weeks ago, the SceneOne Editor said “Are you available to review an adult panto?” I didn’t read the message fully, and replied “Yes”. Only a few days afterwards did I register the use of the word “adult” in the description, and my first thought then was “What HAVE I let myself in for!?!” The short answer to this revealed itself by and by.

The Brides Of March

JOHN Chapman is underrated as a playwright, his work as a writer of comedies and farces being somewhat overshadowed by Ben Travers before him and Ray Cooney after him. But his plays are not only well crafted with some very funny lines, they are less dependent on dropped trousers and lascivious vicars than more conventional farces. His characters are conventional up to a point, but they show rather more depth than mere stereotypes, which itself feeds the comedy.


Subscribe to Reviews