The latest Ebor Players pantomime Snow White opened last night to a rousing response from the mixed audience. Amateur dramatics this may be, but right from the start this was a production that was as professional as could be.
Local audiences have come to expect strong performances from the lead actors, and tonight was no exception. The Dame (David Rose) bustled his way to centre stage and took command of the audience, but not before the opening ensemble music and dance routine demonstrated that the cast were out to enjoy themselves too.
Throughout the production the Dame carried along the story – or lack of it – with gusto, ad-libbing her way on and off the stage with aplomb. A solid music hall comic duo with her foil Simple Simon (Tom Davis) developed, to the delight of the audience young and old, as jokes and one-liners whizzed around the newly named Massie Hall. Their slapstick kitchen scene was well contrived with a well sustained radio gag, and even the props behaved themselves!
As last year the Principal Boy Prince Florian (Bobbie Parrish-Moreton) and Principal Girl Snow White (Georgina Sykes) handled their song and dance routines together really well, and the bad, the very bad, Queen Catrina (Philippa Parish) sulked, pouted and was convincingly vain.
The third pairing that took the eye was that of Reggie Rank (Lisa Thornton) and Phineas File (Tracey Patrick), a couple of unlikely lads with strange accents and a tendency to bling it. They obviously enjoyed their parts and could yet challenge the comic leads for audience appreciation.
There are two choruses to the production, and the senior one came on and did their bit and even got some lines of their own – well done all. The junior chorus this year had seven new youngsters from the age of seven, and they were very impressive with their confidence from the outset. Their delightful performances, particularly at the beginning of Act 2, got a rousing audience response. There will be some proud families in Bish this week!
Oh, and the dwarfs? They took a while to appear, but did so with fun in their approach and they looked right too. Hi ho silver mining was a great song for them. The minor parts too came on and provided the threads to keep the story going.
In fact the music throughout was exemplary, with a blend of new and older songs, and some very good snippets of classical themes that set the tone well as scenes started. With even better costumes supplied by Dress Circle in Haxby, excellent scenery, and good lighting and sound effects, the production values were far in advance of what might be expected in a village hall.
This was a first night outing with an audience, and although the action cracked along at a fair pace this will probably adapt to audience reaction, and introduce a bit more light and shade into the plot. Towards the end, the sinister apple and its outcome seemed a bit light and a bit rushed.
Tim Bruce as Director and Chris Higgins as Choreographer are once more to be congratulated on staging such a bold production in limited surroundings. If you have a ticket and can’t go, I suggest you would get a very good price on Ebay for it as anyone would be foolish to give this panto a miss.
Copyright Martin P Dudley