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Live! - Culture

Serious Drama? Oh no it isn't!

Jan 23 2005 20:05
Ruth Davies
Jack and the Beanstalk - DramSoc?s first ever pantomime!
Nope, there really is nothing quite like a dame!!

In a change from Dramsoc?s usual type of production, Wednesday 19th to Saturday 22nd January saw their first ever pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The tone of the evening?s entertainment was set when instead of the usual announcement to turn off mobile phones as the play began, the rapping Wizard Wheeze (Iain Heaton) walked across stage with a ringing mobile and was chased off by two gun brandishing ?heavies?, Been and Dunnit (Sam Richards and Richard Chatwin) shouting ?No Mobile Phones!?, ?Take Him Down!? etc. Following this promising warm up the pantomime began.

The script, originally written by Jo Smith and adapted by the Director Tom Cafferkey, was a typical pantomime script with all the usual cringe-worthy jokes and lots of ?Oh no he didn?t!?, ?Oh yes he did!? and ?He's behind you!? moments but also some much more original aspects such as the aforementioned rapping Wizard Wheeze. There were also several ?in-jokes? aimed specifically at an Imperial College audience and much use of shaving foam pies. This all worked extremely well and the audience appeared to be participating well and getting in to the spirit of the pantomime.

The pantomime contained some excellent comic acting, particularly from Siegfried Hodgson as the pantomime dame, the Widow English, who wore a pair of silver (very) high heels on stage for the entire performance and successfully carried off the mannerisms and behaviour necessary to a pantomime dame.

There were also some exceptional baddies (because a pantomime needs a good baddy) in the form of the Brooke Milburn as the Witch Whey and Iain Heaton as both Squire Maguire (who is trying to evict the widow from her house) and Detergiant (the captain of the Giants? Guard).

Other good performances were the principal boy, Jack (Charlotte Coales), Princess Penelope (Lilly Topham) and Mr and Mrs Giant (Andre Refig and Helene Ganichaud) and of course Annabelle the cow, played on the night this reporter saw the pantomime by a stand in (Tanya Knowles) following the unavailability of the actor cast in this role.

The show?s producer (Ceris Austyn-Prys) was also to be seen on the stage as a fourth beanstalk elf and a villager. Her performance as Gertie, the Goose who laid the golden egg, was very convincing.

Usually a pantomime contains a lot of singing and dancing, in this case however there was only one song. Given the appalling standard of singing and dancing in that song (even allowing for some of the cast singing and dancing ?in character?) that was probably a good thing! There was however good use of recorded music at various points in the pantomime.

The technical side of a pantomime is generally expected to be extensive and this one was no exception, involving full use of the Concert Hall with flying, trap doors and pyrotechnics. There were a couple of slight mishaps the evening this reporter went to see the performance, when some of the pyrotechnics misfired and some scenery wasn?t flown out before the lights went up on the next scene, but these were minor things by comparison with the whole. They were generally covered by good ad libbing on the part of the cast, particularly by Richard Jordon as Simple Simon.

The pantomime was a great success and the Director Tom Cafferkey and the Producer Ceris Austyn-Prys and all their Production Team are to be praised.

Dramsoc?s next production is ?Noises? Off? by Michael Frayn which will be showing from Monday 14th March to Thursday 17th March in the Union Concert Hall.

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Discussion about “Serious Drama? Oh no it isn't!”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jan 25 2005 10:42

Noises Off??? Coo, that's ambitious. Looking forward to that one.

2. Tom C   
Jan 25 2005 12:20

I'm not...i'm producing it! Should be an amazing set though!

Jan 25 2005 13:27

It should be amazing set, but then again the design is still in my head. Better get on with it...

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