ACT in Action Issue 17

character make-up which completed the visual imagery. The direction captured the spirit of pantomime: the main and sub- plots were neatly delivered. The audience was worked and worked; the set pieces worked well but could have been a little cleaner. All the musical content was contemporary and well executed. The percussionist covered all the prat falls, trips and bodily contacts all of which added to the fun. The choreography was an integral element to the overall success whether tap or on point. All was carried out by a team of well- presented, experienced dancers. The use of young children, “Sunbeams”, goes back a long way. They had their moment on stage performing songs and dancing. This troupe of very young children was well rehearsed and disciplined creating a golden pantomime moment. Pantomime has to be high energy; all the ensemble work was carried out with enthusiasm giving a dramatic platform for the principals. Rats are causing great problems in London town; the Rat Pack was menacing, and its leader King Rat was played effectively by Ciaran Travis. Everyone’s well-being is under the watchful eye of the enchanting Kat Fairy. Kitti Dixon was a delightful sprite purrrrrring her way into the audience’s favour. Shopkeeper Alderman Fitzwarren is a good link for the plot lines; he was suitably fleshed out by Colin Magenty. Head of Fitzwarren’s household is Dame Katy, the cook. It is because it is a man playing a woman that makes the dame funny. Keith Hindley is a bloke in a frock and deserved his well-earned laughs. Katy’s son, Idle Jack, is the character who makes friends with the audience and works them throughout. Wayne Lythgoe took on this demanding role. A little short on experience did not stop Wayne from making a valid contribution. We were introduced to the man-eating Mrs Wittington (Dick’s mother), Donna Wood was careful not to dominate scenes but had great fun playing her men. One of those potential suitors was Captain Bill (Paul Jameson) of the Bouncing Bessie. Paul is a team player and added to the fun and games that is pantomime. After the shipwreck they all ended up in the palace of the Empress of Morocco. Katherine Roberts was the Empress, and Zoe Unsworth played Prince Abdullah. Zoe gave an uplifting rendition of “Memory”. The Londoners were granted a new ship for freeing the land of rats. This was due to the labours of Wittington’s cat, Tom, nimbly portrayed by Terry McCabe. In addition, there was another skin role, a Moroccan camel which was much loved by the younger members of the audience. Our hero Dick Wittington was played as a true thigh-slapping principal boy to great effect by Clare Nash. Karen Jones brought a strong presence and warmth to the role of Alice Fitzwarren. Everyone went home feeling better for this seasonal much-loved St Joseph’s Pantomime. THE WIZARD OF O Z PADOS Junior Theatre Group - Groups 1 & 2 Director / Mentor Jack Martin The young performer’s edition of the iconic musical “The Wizard of Oz” has been creatively adapted. The material enables the young students to present the best possible performance. Running for just over an hour it must have been an exciting and rewarding experience for them as there is storytelling, singing and dancing, and a whole raft of performing skills to be displayed. This was all played out against a workable set using swiped picturesque cloths for the famous journey down the yellow brick road. All the characters were dressed well and their make-up completed their colourful characters. The lighting added atmosphere, although the sound was a little inconsistent and Group 2, at times, was not heard. This was possibly due to having the speakers at the front, and not behind the performers. Through their rehearsal sessions, turning the groups into working teams Musical Director: Helen Wilkinson music supplied by backing tracks Choreographer: Jess McEvoy

was evident in performance. As the performers were supporting each other, their performances enhanced the character development. Both groups displayed equal abilities. The stage discipline was notable as there was no any migration from set positions, and no fidgeting. They came across very focused; the picking up of cues was also very good. It is so difficult to act out lines to make them interesting for an audience but here the storytelling, from both groups, was strong. It was interesting in the opening scene Groups 1 and 2 slightly rushed their dialogue. Maybe “Pace” could be something to approach in their next training sessions. However, things soon settled down and the narrative continued unhindered. On top of all the dramatic aspect of stage work they had to sing and dance as well as concentrating on movement. The musical training enabled the soloists to deliver entertaining solos and company numbers. The choreography and movement tested their coordination. From the youngest upwards the energy and enthusiasm carried the dance sets. The Jitter-Bug dance was a particular highlight in both presentations. The Wicked Witch is desperate to have Dorothy’s ruby slippers and sends an array of characters to get them. These supporting roles in both groups were well conceived. For this version, when in OZ, Toto was acted out as a “Skin” role without dialogue - just the odd bark. This was carried out with effect from the two Toto’s. Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man in groups 1 and 2 were well drawn characters, were believable and carried the story. Everyone in both productions should be proud of their achievements. The creative team brought out the best in the students. Tt was clear performers had learnt a lot. There is always room for improvement and as they gain experience with the training they are receiving, these young thespians will be ready to move up into the adult section. MADE IN DAGENHAM THE MUSICAL Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company Director: Stuart Dutton Set in 1968, the time of Biba, the minidress, the first Big Mac went on sale at MacDonald’s, and there was music from The Kinks and The Beatles White Album. An era of totally different values when women were not equal to men in the workplace. As James Brown’s 1966 hit record stated, “This is a Man’s World”. A musical about a striking work force is nothing new, the “Pajama Game” and “Billy Elliot” successfully told their stories of what ordinary people can achieve. “Made in Dagenham” the musical is no pretender; it entertainingly delivers the fight for equal pay by the machinists at the Dagenham Ford motor car factory. The factory and other locations were all cleverly incorporated in Scenic Project’s scenery. As there are no flying facilities the SMs and crew set and struck insets without hindering the ebb and flow. All was Musical Director: Ian Sherwood Choreographer: Jenna Finningan

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