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Haverhill's Centre Stage Company puts on another first-class panto




I’ve never read Treasure Island or seen any dramatic enactment of the famous book so taking my seat at the arts centre on Saturday I was in unfamiliar territory.

But then this was pantomime, so whether The Centre Stage Company’s version bore that much resemblance to the original story was not in all truth of any real importance.

As it happened the show contained so many gags, innuendos, silliness and ribaldry that it was, for me, mission accomplished.

Long John Silver, far right, his pirates and Mr Arrow (Reece Hannigan). Picture by Alison Harris Photography
Long John Silver, far right, his pirates and Mr Arrow (Reece Hannigan). Picture by Alison Harris Photography

After all, what is a panto without plenty of those things?

Centre Stage panto newcomer Jason André was a revelation as Jim Hawkins’s mum Mrs Hawkins, one of the two dames in the show - yes there were two.

Anybody would have thought he had done this before, so polished was his performance.

Jason André as Mrs Hawkins and Jackie Parker as Dr Livesy in Treasure Island. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
Jason André as Mrs Hawkins and Jackie Parker as Dr Livesy in Treasure Island. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

The other dame, Mrs Hawkins’s sister, Lady Trelawney, was played by the more panto-seasoned Steven Roach and he put in an equally great shift.

The principal cast were given lots of sharp jokes to get through and plenty of tunes, many of them with a nod to a nautical connection.

I was personally chuffed to hear the band - who once again impressed under the leadership of musical director,Tony Trott - play Rock Lobster by the B52s. I never thought I would see the day when that song featured in a panto.

From left: Patchy (Denise Harriss), Peggy (Charlie Morton-Moody) and Pointy (Becca Neal) in Treasure Island. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
From left: Patchy (Denise Harriss), Peggy (Charlie Morton-Moody) and Pointy (Becca Neal) in Treasure Island. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

Pointy (Becca Neal, who co-wrote the panto), Patchy (Denise Harriss) and Peggy (Charlie Morton-Moody) teamed up well as the bumbling panto villains while Graeme Johnstone was a convincing Long John Silver.

Charlotte Allin played the straight role of Jim Hawkins with aplomb and did well to keep a straight face given the shenanigans of those around her.

Director Cian Harriss and choreographer Charlotte Scammerton pulled together some great scenes, with a rendition by the main cast of ‘Saturday Night’s Alright’ a real stand-out moment for me.

Lady Trelawney (Steven Roach) and Captain Smollet (Sam Barker) in a scene from Treasure Island. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
Lady Trelawney (Steven Roach) and Captain Smollet (Sam Barker) in a scene from Treasure Island. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

The panto is continuing at the arts centre tonight, tomorrow and Saturday with shows at 7pm each day, plus a 3pm matinee on Saturday.


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