“You feel part of it, as though you could get up and join in.”
“Each performance is individual; it keeps to the plot and keeps on getting better.”
“This is a local institution, just like the Theatre Royal.”
“There is no star turn, all the actors are equal and nobody steals the show”
“Cool, funny, clever”
These are just some of the comments made by the audience.
I arrived on a cold winter’s night to watch the annual pantomime by the Ebor Players, this year Dick Whittington. On arrival the atmosphere in the hall was electric even before the performance had started. The professional looking electronic kit was plentiful… sound machines, lights to laptops along with people who cleverly knew how to operate them.
The performance started with rats running around the audience, clearly a very clever way to warm up the gathered crowd. They were soon followed by King Rat, (Tom Davis) & Razor, (Lisa Thornton) who only could be described as excellent.
I was asking myself at this point if this was a professional production as it could hardly be described as ‘amateur dramatics’ I also had in my mind that the standard was so high from the beginning, would this continue throughout the performance or would there be the inevitable ‘lull’ as the story gets lost and the magic starts to fade.
As the performance continued my fears for the rest of the show were soon quashed. The story, sounds, lights, music & songs were all excellent and ran smoothly. All the characters from small to tall were comfortable in their parts making this a whole magical village event. No one actor or actress stole the show as everybody excelled in their own way.
The audience’s hearts were captured many times and the songs were sung with so much feeling they brought many a tear to my eye.
Ethel Burger played by David Rose was a sure match for Berwick Kaler. Ethel was surrounded by all the humour, wit and slapstick you would expect from a professional pantomime. Audience participation was plentiful and there were even sweets for the children!
Each scene just got better and better. I could only describe the neon light octopus’ garden scene as fabulous. I could hear gasps from the audience at just how brilliant this was.
All rounded off with a community song for dessert – what better way to spend an evening out. In fact why go all that way to the Theatre Royal when in my opinion you have better on the doorstep?
The pantomime has run from Monday to Saturday this year due to popular demand. Should we expect a run from December to February next year to rival other productions? I would be careful though, you may find Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass in the audience looking to capture some new ideas!
Well done Ebor Players, from acting to behind the scenes, whatever your role in this production- you are amazing!