By The Centre Stage Company
The latest panto offering from the Centre Stage Company was one that - I think - saw them up the ante from all the previous ones that I had seen.
Everything about it seemed that little bit more slick, that little bit more polished - and of course the laughs kept coming all the way through.
As is the way with pantomimes the Dame will get the bulk of the funny lines, and Rapunzel lived up to that tradition with Nick Keeble’s return to panto as Nellie Bangs, Hairdresser to the Stars and manager of the Curl up N Dye Salon, nothing short of triumphant.
Nellie’s son Will (Billie Allen) was the hero of the piece, being entrusted to rescue Rapunzel (Victoria Harvey in an impressive first ever principle role) from the clutches of the villainous Mother Gothel (Denise Harriss).
When Will collapses towards the end, Nellie’s innuendos hit a fabulous high point when she uttered the line; “Do something, my little Willie has gone all floppy.” What more can you possibly want from a pantomime dame?
Somehow, using a clipped voice when portraying the villain seems to work better than anything else, and Denise Harriss achieved this with style.
As good as the entire cast were, my favourites were Mother Gothel’s hapless bodyguards, Head (Steve Marsh) and Shoulders (Nick Selin).
I don’t think I’ve ever watched such a fine performance of physical comedy from any panto duo.
Some cracking tunes, all finely choreographed and including a performance of ‘When I Grow Up’ from the three Rapunzels (aged eight, 12 and 18) that I particularly enjoyed, together with strong support roles from Charlotte Scammerton as the fairy, Herbal Essences and Andy Letcher as King Bouffant, helped too.
Find out how good it is when it returns on Thursday (Jan 28), Friday and Saturday (matinee and evening showings) at the arts centre.
Call 01440 714140 for tickets and details.