A review from a frequent audience member of our most recent pantomime.
Having never heard of Camelot the Panto, I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but as it was a Riverside Players production I was confident I was in for a good night. I wasn’t disappointed.
First impressions were of the set, which was visually stunning as always. It never ceases to amaze me what talented set designers/painters we have in Riverside Players. Well done too on the ingenious contraptions in Merlin’s lab.
The band were in full swing and playing enthusiastically, led by an ever exuberant Dale Wills on keyboard.
This was Ferne Haxby’s first time in the directors seat, and she has clearly done a wonderful job of casting and organising a talented group of people. Great also to see some of the young talent coming through from the Youth Group.
In another first, James Lee took on the principle male lead role of Arthur, and deserves a lot of credit for such a mature performance both in acting and singing, despite his young years. This young man will go far!
Jen Armstrong provided the romantic foil to Arthur as Guinevere, and also put in a confident and polished performance as always.
I have to say that Steve Fenlon could not have looked and sounded more kingly! That beard was in its element!
Kirstie McMillan, played one of the best Evil queens I have seen in a long time (well, since I last saw her as an evil queen), with the just the right amount of panto evilness and obligatory cackle. Keeping on with the evil theme, Matt Friett was delightfully revolting as a creepy Valerin the Vicious. Great (and slightly disturbing) thigh rubbing Matt!
Maybe I’m weird, but I have to confess my favourite performance was the Max Headroom-esque disembodied head of Andrew McMillan. He was without doubt the best head in a bureau I’ve ever seen and I laughed uproariously!
I also laughed hard at Jack Barker’s entrance to Can’t Stop the Feeling. Great facial expressions and great timing. Have to admit though that the audience’s line of ‘Be brave Laughalot’ was upstaged by someone (who shall remain nameless) shouting ‘Man up Laughalot’!
Great performance from the Knights and the Evil Sisterhood, and some well worked choreography. Solid performances from the rest of the cast who all added to the fun and mayhem. And not forgetting the crew, backstage, front of house, and everyone that works tirelessly to put on such a great show – you all deserve a great deal of praise.
The only negative was the sound. There was occasional feedback from the band, and on-stage sound was also hampered by various gremlins with some mics not working at all, and other at inconsistent volume levels. It didn’t detract too much though.
Well done Riverside Players, a wonderful and successful family fun Panto. See you next time!