It’s that time again (Oh yes it is!) and Melton Theatre audiences are in for a treat this year as Trevonne Productions ‘let their hair down’ in their 38th consecutive pantomime writes John Hurton.
Rapunzel – A Tangled Tale, not the obvious story for a panto but all the better for it, as it adds a fresh take on the traditional story (enhanced with touches from the Disney animation Tangled) but still contains all the elements we know and love in this uniquely British annual institution.
With a running time of three and a half hours, it was a shade too long for some of the very youngest members of the packed house but we need to remember that this is essentially a showcase for the many talents of the Trevonne dancers who proved their worth admirably and were fully appreciated by the enthusiastic matinee audience.
All were given their chance to shine in the spotlight, from the youngest line up of the cutest nurses and doctor on the planet, right through to the seniors whose appearance in the finale drew warm cheers of appreciation. When the stage filled up at the end it was amazing to see just how many performers had been involved.
The dances were all well thought out and choreographed by Hayley Sessions fitting into the story without feeling shoehorned and with a good variety of styles from modern and tap to ballet and acrobatics. Particular highlights for me being the ‘Riverdance’ number that literally kick-started the show, the Act 2 opening sequence of modern and ballet and the ingenious blackout ‘drumsticks’ routine.
The only advice I can offer the dancers for improvement would be that it makes such a difference when the performers all smile and it’s true to say that several did, so it is often those individuals to whom the audience’s attention is automatically drawn. We all know that they are enjoying it or they wouldn’t be there, but to see that on all of their faces would lift the entertainment value ten-fold – especially in a routine to the song ‘Get Happy!’
The principals all performed well although I thought the dialogue was a bit slow but, as I saw only the third performance, I’m sure that as the week progresses, this won’t be a problem. Katie Walters was delightful as the good Fairy Nuff, the perfect counterpoint to the evil enchantress, Morticia, played with confidence and just the right amount of menace by Rachel Hall, whose ultimate comeuppance was a joy. No panto is complete without its hero and heroine and we were treated to lovely performances by Alys Greasley as Rapunzel, the ‘girl with the golden hair’ and Edward Bates as the reformed ruffian, Finn Strider who wins his princess in the end. Wayne Hazeldine was on good comic form as the bumbling King Kendrick ably supported by his loving Queen Ramona (Eluned Banfield). Special mention must also go to the assured Holly Taylor as Rapunzel’s chameleon companion, Tabasco, the source of many comic asides and one-liners.
The audience were kept in on the action throughout by court jesters Jingles and Jangles played with great energy and confidence by Zoe Elliott and Kate Buchanan and Trevonne’s own ‘Wonder Woman,’ Nurse Polly Picklenose, the ever reliable Stuart Scarborough.
Production values were of their usual high standards, the costumes being worthy of particular praise and direction by the multi-talented Hayley Sessions was as reliably sure-footed as the dancers. As the finale song says, “Thank you for the music” Trevonne and for a fabulous show! Congratulations to everyone involved and I’m sure we’re looking forward to the 39th!
Remaining performances take place on Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 1pm and 6pm. Tickets are still available but they’re very limited so be quick!
To secure your seats call Melton Theatre box office on (01664) 851111 or visit www.meltontheatre.co.uk