On Thursday, the 6th January our Parish Players, with a cast of 28 supported by 6 musicians and not forgetting a dozen or so backstage helpers, presented their first night performance of "Mother Goose". The show was played to a full house in the Church Hall. The Church Hall with its modern aspect, large stage with sophisticated lighting and equipment invites a professional approach to any production and this pantomime lived up to that expectation. The show had a polish which indicated a vast amount of work and rehearsal. The performance, opened by an introduction from the clown soon transported us to the "Village of Happy Content" where the story unfolded in traditional manner of good triumphing over bad — but not too quickly — backed up by comedy and song. Mother Goose played by Michael Newton was a robust character, nearly bankrupt, who was fortunate in acquiring the services of Priscilla, the Goose, played by Helen Smith, as a solution to her financial difficulties. A shower of golden eggs of an anatomically impossible size soon enabled Mother Goose to pay off the rent and arrears demanded by her avaricious landlord the Squire played by Simon Eve. In this way she outsmarted the Bailiffs played by Graham McCubbin and Roy Venables, who being thwarted of their original intention of turning her out of her home, had to resort to being comedians and in this proved truly excellent. Meanwhile the chorus needed little prompting to burst into song, starting with "Aye Aye, Aye" and before the show had ended had got through at least a dozen songs amongst which were "Pennies from Heaven", "Food, glorious food" and many another old favourites. With her new found riches encouraged by the Demon King, played by Melvyn Procter and protected by the Good Fairy, played by Perry Hull, Mother Goose arrived at the Magic Pool and then via the Haunted Wood at last finds herself in Gooseland where justice at last is dispensed to all and sundry. For those of the audience who were hungry, refreshments were provided in the interval and it was pleasant to see a group of children from Hambro House present. Each of these children received a gift from on-stage during the show. To sum up if one judges a pantomime by its ability to hold firmly the attention of the audience and to create around them a world of make believe, fun and pleasure returning them at the end, refreshed, to their normal lives then the pantomime was successful.
P.S. As a result of collaboration between the Wives Group and the Parish Players, the children of Hambro House (a Church of England Children's Society Home) attended the Thursday pantomime. They were transported by the Scouts; refreshments were served by members of the Youth Club; and programmes were sold by Girl Guides. On the Friday members of the Mostyn Club for the physically handicapped attended and were provided with refreshments. Finally, the 9.30 coffee-ites on the Sunday assisted in returning the grand piano from the floor of the Hall to its rightful place on the stage.