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December 12 2021, Cinderella Trophy Reviews

Roadwater Players perform the Rat King.   Photo from Facebook

It was now finally time to dust off my clipboard, familiarise myself with the Somerset Fellowship book of rules and head off to watch my first pantomime.

It had seemed years since I had last watched a production so on a dark and stormy night complete with mask I head off to Roadwater where its players are performing The Rat King, The ANTI Pantomime.

Directed by Sarah Kingsford and written by her daughter Katherine this production included some but not all panto traditions you would come to expect.

There were many roles available giving the cast an opportunity to tread those boards. The first time for some maybe.

The pantomime moved along at a steady pace although on this occasion we had a wedding at the beginning and not at the end! There were some excellent sets, especially the opening in Sweet Honeyland and the Castle of the Raven Queen. Congratulations Rob. You obviously have a skilful hand!

Although several prompts were required during the evening the cue bite was generally sound. I believe the casting was relatively spot-on and we had a few fine performers who held the show together with panache.

Chris Marshall’s Rat King played his role with esteem. With great vocal attack, smart costume and make-up you were certainly one to be feared. Nigel McBrayne’s Dame Dolly Mixture gave us a robust and confident performance. An outrageous costume on every entrance is what we look for and you nailed it. I would have exchanged those blue canvas slip-ons for something more colourful to match your attire though. A bright pair of Doc Martens is always a safe bet.

I enjoyed the antics of Sallyann King’s and Benedict Lintott’s Mag Pie and Jak Daw. You were committed to your roles and worked perfectly as a duo flapping about the stage!

I am aware there are few children in Roadwater but even adults love a little slapstick and knockabout. It was therefore a shame that Peter Robert’s Billy Bumpkin only appeared at the beginning and end of the show. I believe he needed a larger part therefore introducing some running gags along the way!

Music is the gel that holds a show together and I felt there were one or two missed opportunities from your band or backing tracks. On occasions we had a silent stage on entrances and exits. Likewise, when cast members walked through the auditorium we needed music to play them off. You also have some fine singers in your cast so I would have avoided miming especially at the closing of act one. A more rousing number sung by the cast would have been more appropriate here I feel.

Nonetheless this was a good all round production and costumes worn well especially by the children. It was evident the juniors had done everything the director had asked of them. All Townspeople and children were a delight to watch on stage.

During these times I applaud Roadwater Players. You managed to construct a show that delighted your audience with all the safety factors in mind. I for one had a most enjoyable evening. With complimentary mulled wine, tea, mince pies and first prize in the raffle – what was there not to like!

Thank you Roadwater for your hospitality. I am certain the village community enjoyed celebrating their pantomime experience with you.

Summary by Nigel Ford. Moderator