It is not often that I take the decision to put a Tivyside review of panto on my blog, but I have been persuaded by the enthusiasm of certain cast members to share it on their face-book pages and I do hope that as many people as possible will see it and maybe on another occasion make the effort to go and enjoy a production by this immensely talented bunch of village people.
Treasure Island – Cilgerran Players.
From the moment the excellent Sarah Moore put a foot on the stage as Dame Sally Forth at the annual Cilgerran panto, the audience knew they were in for a good time and began answering back without a second thought. Treasure Island was a courageous move, breaking with more traditional titles and going for an original choice for a change, but under Amanda Wells’s direction this brand new entertainment, had a joyfully traditional daft panto plot, and some welcome new characters for the audience to laugh at and argue with. The Cilgerran Players have a wealth of talent evidenced by quality acting throughout, right down to the very youngest with the chorus of lost pirates and Spot the dog, played with an insouciant comedy by Bradley Martin.
Also worthy of mention among the teenage members of the cast were Jake Caswell as Ben Gunn and Theo Blackburn as Jack Forth both of whom shone in their own parts, showing real acting ability and additional musical skills. Thomas George made a first-class Jolly Roger, especially in his moment of miming Freddie Mercury with credible relish, and Jim Hawkins and Mary Forth the young lovers, ably played by Charlotte Wallond and Leah Kitson James, sang sweetly, looked lovely, and contributed the essential romantic element.
Amongst the adult parts Andy Wallond did a great job as the devious Long John Silver, holding his own against the overtures of the insistent Dame and the two of them were aided in keeping the audience laughing by several others who have a natural talent to cause mirth on sight, Mark Chandler as Israel Hands, Jan Garner as Blind Pugh and Silas Blackburn as Squire Trelawney whose double act with Doctor Livesey and his ear trumpet played by Reuben Wells, was hilarious. It must however also be said that the Cilgerran players do have advantages that stretch beyond their acting capabilities and that is why they make such good ensemble productions. Congratulations should go to Sue Bains for the marvellous costumes, especially those of Dame Sally Forth, and, to all the backstage team from sound and lighting, to the team who painted and created the super set with the pirate ship sailing in, and other clever devices. Such fun for the audience, and it looked like just as much fun for the cast.