Skip to main content

Review of Sinbad The Sailor by the Duston Players at Duston Community Centre, Northampton

I am not the biggest fan of pantomimes, however at a request I by chance found myself at Duston Community Centre (a venue I have not been to before) to watch Duston Players (a group I have not seen before) performing Sinbad The Sailor (someone I have not met before).

It was absolutely a great community based amateur production, suitably cheap (even written into the script) with just a great cast of all ages having fun. Through this I managed to avoid the need to worry about much of the pantomime antics going on and in Johnathan Freeth's script there was absolutely every panto requirement inserted (add innuendo here). For my benefit, the tale of Sinbad being transposed into the eighties was perfect as this is very much my era, especially with music. Therefore I got everything from The Final Countdown through to Girls Just Want To Have fun and all the comically named shipmates names (harking back to stars of yesteryear) in between.

Our hero Sinbad was played with relish by James Burgess along with his love interest Princess Poppy (Samantha Leith). They worked great together and I loved their Too Shy performance, and like a few of the songs, anyone who knew the eighties could see the songs coming in the script from a mile away. The setting for our adventures was the Kingdom of Pring-Al-Toob which allowed a plethora of Pringles and crisp based jokes, including the Sultan Vinegar played by David James. Stumbling around near blind constantly grabbing the wrong person gave a great reoccurring joke. Often being grabbed was our resident dame of the show Nursie Nora played with high buxomness by Tim Dwelly, doing and looking everything required of the wanton woman.

The baddies of the piece were the wonderful John Myhill as the brother of the Sultan, Wazir Welhi and Rita Ayers as Tamato The Sorceress. I have seen John a few times now in the Masque productions and he has never disappointed and as I have now discovered he is actually a very good panto baddie as well. Managing to garner the constant boos of the audience and carrying of a rather garish green wig with aplomb. Rita as Tamato was at the offset a baddie, but whether the crowd knew what was coming or not, she didn't elicit the boos of the crowd. They were very much kept for Wazir and quite rightfully.

Great fun was to be had from Wazir's henchmen Hugh (Jonathan Whalley) and Cry (Tina Hartley), although I am not impressed by them making us sing "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" quite so many times. Finally a special mention to everyone else involved including the children who without doubt looked like they were enjoying every moment. There were a few obvious stars among them and a few easily distracted, which made the whole afternoon even better.

The script was everything you required of a panto, featuring all that "he's behind you" antics and plenty of innuendo for the adults featuring sextants and poles and for the best part kept everyone interested for its actually quite substantial length. I also absolutely loved the monkey and camel and that end between them was inspired.

So yes I enjoyed it. It was a wonderful afternoon of family entertainment with a somewhat more raucous and distracted crowd than I am accustomed to at the theatre. However this transcended theatre and just became a full flung family piece of chaos and I suppose at the end of the day this is what panto is all about. Perhaps slowly I am beginning to get it. Oh yes I am!

Performance reviewed: Saturday 5th December, 2015 (matinee)

Sinbad The Sailor ran at the Duston Community Centre, Northampton between Wednesday 2nd December and Saturday 5th September, 2015.
For full details of the Duston Players visit their website at http://www.dustonplayers.org.uk/

Comments

  1. One minor correction, it was performed at Duston Community Centre, not The Playhouse. We wouldn't all fit on that stage!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You certainly wouldn't! I have smacked the bottom of my proof reader.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe that making the audience sing a very old song very raucously and at some length is a legal requirement of pantomime these days.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Rules For Living at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It is possibly a rule in life for a few in the audience for the opening night of Sam Holcroft's domestic comedy Rules For Living not to mention Christmas until December. Therefore anyone of such a persuasion might have been a little perturbed to be presented on the 13th September with, an undeniably brilliantly dressed, homely Christmas scene.

Opening up in glorious dollhouse style and on a gorgeous little hinge, this little home of living room and kitchen sets the scene for a typical family Christmas. Mother Edith (Jane Booker) welcomes her sons, Matthew (Jolyon Coy) and Adam (Ed Hughes) and their respective partners, Carrie (Carlyss Peer) and Nicole (Laura Rogers) And with a final dramatic arrival of father Francis (Paul Shelley), the scene is very much set for comic antics of the highest calibre.

The first thing you get from Rules For Living in the first few minutes is the arrival of one of the most brilliant, yet simple concepts I have seen for a while in the play. These are …

Review of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There have been a couple of television versions of the Mapp & Lucia novels by E. F. Benson over the years and irrespective of which generation version you might have seen, the roles of Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas were filled with some heavyweight performers. So taking on these roles could, in theory, be a challenge too much to live up to. However, that would be if the characters themselves were less the sum of the performer. These are great characters on paper as well as on stage and therefore Gena McCrystal (Miss Mapp) and Juliet O'Connor (Lucia) make them very much their own in the stage adaption by John Van Druten.

Lucia has arrived and breezed both into the town of Tilling and the musical chair roundabout of house rental that is want to occur here. Her rented property is Miss Mapp's and for some reason, Mapp fails to follow the routine of keeping away, constantly "popping in", so the battle lines are drawn.
Make Way for Lucia is the typical battle of supremacy i…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…