Being a relatively new spectator to Parish Players productions, I must say how impressed I have been by the very high standards achieved in each production. This year's Panto was no exception - it was truly wonderful.
I am very glad I attended two performances (Thursday and Friday night), because the latter was so much better. On Thursday night the pace of Act 1 was a bit sluggish and because of this some of the jokes were lost on the audience. However 24 hours later and Friday night's performance was ten times better and we enjoyed a much sharper performance. In fact, all the cast looked as if they were enjoying themselves which lifted the performance overall. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the ad-libs and the incidences where the cast used any mistakes to involve them.
For such a large cast it was excellently organized - making good use of the stage and a cast who were confident in their movements. I particularly noted that the curtains were rarely pulled across the stage which kept the show moving along nicely. Personal favourite scenes for me were the ship was being prepared to sail with the orders from the Captain being repeated, and the scene which started with the Hawaii Five O music. This scene was largely effective because different parts of the stage were used well which pushed the scene along nicely and kept the audience's attention.
The sets were nicely arranged and the scene changes well organized. The 3D effect worked very well, especially in the scene where the ship is being prepared to sail. I particularly liked the stockade where the characters kept popping up.
Costumes were lovely and bright in true Panto tradition, but I missed the hats particularly the Dame's and perhaps the Captain's costume could have been more comical. However, both Bertha Gunn and Polly the Parrot's costumes were terrific.
The monkey puppets were a great hit with the audience and very enjoyable to watch. I did however miss the OTT Panto props (e.g. oversized bucket for Nancy to be sick in, which may have added to the comedy). The special effects made the audience aware of where they were (e.g. mosquito noises, thunder, waves) and they were on cue and were well done overall.
All the songs were performed really well and in good tune, backed by a strong band. I particularly enjoyed the songs and choreography for 'Sex Bomb', 'No Cure Like Travel', 'The Tikki Tikki' song and 'I Yi Yi Yi'.
'I'm a Believer' was the most uplifting song and it was especially enhanced with excellent choreography. I felt the show should have ended after this song. The recurring Titanic song when Nancy and Jim meet was a very amusing touch. The 'Clap Hands' song opening Act 2 was excellently performed by Long John Silver but I personally found the song disappointing to open the 2nd act. The choreography could have been better in places but was good overall. I especially liked the Western (cowboy) choreography in Safe, Sane and Single and of course the guest appearance of the Vicar!
The Spanish characters (Geoff Start and Mary King) were very good, and the comedy duo, Newquay (Kieran Costello) and Bodwin (Steve Blomeley), although excellent individually, did not in my view quite interact enough with each other. This would have added to the comedy.
In conclusion all the cast were terrific in their roles, but I would like to make special mention of George Moss as Jim Ladd who was outstanding in his debut role for Parish Players, Long John Silver (Hugh Edwards), Nancy (Alice Knights), the Dame (Richard Warner), and the Squire (Howard Payne) were superbly cast in their roles and got the audience booing, cheering and participating in the show.
An excellent show - very well done to all involved.