We were delighted to again welcome Judith Watsham, our NODA rep, to review ourpantomime this year. Here's what she thought.
Thank you for inviting me to reporton this year’s pantomime and for the warm welcome from your front of house team and your Director Tish Marshall.
I, and my young companion, really enjoyed the show. Your set designed by Sophie Koziol and constructed by a talented team of painters and builders was excellent and up to Lane End’s usual high standards. Stage Manager Stewart Mason and his team worked well and unobtrusively with the changes too.
Your programme, edited by Ritchard Tysoe, was well produced and colourful. However, apart from the rather faint inclusion of the NODA logo, there was no mention of your membership. This is a particularly notable omission as last year you beat all the other pantomimes in the London Region – and believe me there were an awful of pantos on offer – to scoop the London Best Pantomime Trophy. In the past, too, you have been nominated for many other awards and, in reality, this means that you won the relevant award in London District 11A. You are very good, you have an excellent team and you really should blow your own trumpet more so that your audiences realise that you are recognised as one of the top amateur societies currently performing in London.
All the back stage departments, such as Lighting (Tom and Peter Sims); Sound (Darren Crisp and Peter Sims); Props (Lannie Staff); Costumes (Eve Berry, Georgie Brooks, Gill Fox, Sophie Koziol and Tish Marshall) and Make up (Sophie Koziol and the cast) complemented each other well. You are fortunate to have a such talented and hardworking team because, as I am sure everyone knows very well, without the tireless work of all these people your show, however good the cast, just would not work. Every one of you is just as important to the success of a production as the players!
MD Mike Watson and his small band worked hard and the overture, largely a medley of tunes included in the show, was impressively performed. The choice of songs was good too as you used a lot of well-known tunes from older musical shows – just adding your own words; in addition there were other melodies of course – I noticed the inclusion of a James Bond film theme too!
Whilst on the subject of the music I liked the way some of the more instrumentally talented cast joined the band, either in the band’s enclosure or, during the Finale, actually on stage.
The chorus and dancers sang and moved well and, most importantly, exhibited a fair amount of verve and enthusiasm. This is always really important – especially perhaps in pantoland where it has to be over the top in some ways. You smiled and reacted well at all times.
Tom Everitt’s Ali Baba was well played. It made a change, Tom, to see you out of a Dame’s costume too.
Kate Tysoe made a good principal boy and you paired well with Lexy Jackman’s Polly Jones. Very well played both of you.
Wicked Kasim Baba, Julian Brockless, was suitably evil and well in character all the time as was your ‘wife’, Olive Baba, Alison Hartnett, who managed a good contrast between her character as a proud rich woman humbled to a mere slave.
James Wood had the dame part in this production, playing Fatima Kebab well. James, I would have liked a little more padding in your costume though.
Absent minded Professor Jones, Pete Stokes, bumbled around the stage realistically – when he wasn’t playing with the band.
As well as all her previously mentioned work backstage, Sophie Kozial played the good fairy, Crystal as well as part of the camel. You must have been exhausted Sophie!
I loved the camel, incidentally, were there really three of you in there or did you take it in turns? Morgan Haven and Leah Brown you played parts of the beast well.
Lisa Harnett and Nigel Bacon made an excellent pairing as comedy duo Bubble and Squeak – the would-be-bad characters always getting it wrong.
Finally, the smaller roles of Vanilla and Delight were well taken by Lucy Evans and Holly Thomas and Steve Hartnett made an excellent lurching Mummy. David Harnett was saddled with one of the worst punning names I have come across this year – he played Mustapha Nana!
This pantomime made a fitting end to this season’s wide range of pantomimes and I can only say, once again, that I really enjoyed it! I am looking forward to seeing the rest of your 2017 shows.
Judith Watsham Regional Rep NODA London 11 and 11A