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Seend Fawlty Players 40th village pantomime certainly went with a bang – courtesy of the big bass drum acquired to go with the song ‘Flash, Bang Wallop What a Picture,’ at Seend Community Centre, 21-23rd February.
Followers of the Fawlties (and they have audience members who come each year from Plymouth, Surrey and Munich) know that they will always be treated to plenty of silly humour and some quirky performances.
Roger Brind opened the proceedings eloquently as the verse-speaking story teller. Stacey Vaux played Snow White as a mixture of naive and feisty and used her splendid singing voice to great effect. The Seven Dwarfs (Mark Wood, Len Murray, Josh Hamblin, Juliette Clark, Josh Conboy, Magnus Galloway and Jackie Hamblin) brilliantly portrayed their roles according to the characteristics of their names. Special mention must be made of Jackie Hamblin’s playing of Dopey, with lots of references to the fact that she was Snow White in the Players’ 1981 and 1996 productions, using the same glass coffin as used in this show. At the last night’s performance, to the scriptwriters’ surprise, she re-established ownership of the coffin by climbing into it during the finale.
Pete Wallis was a villainous wicked queen, drawing vociferous booing from the audience – especially the children, with John Jameson-Davis playing her glitzy mirror almost as a wannabe rock star. Comedy natural, Andy Nutland, totally won the audience’s hearts as the Queen’s reluctant assassin, Huntsman Dick, with Paula Mansergh as his sidekick housemaid, Flossie Fluster. A very pregnant Eleanor Braney played Prince Elfred the Expectant as traditional principal boy with a difference. Lily Steggall and Will Hickman played two detectives as smart cop and dumb cop, Jan Field and Ronja Galloway two musical bluebirds and Anita Shea and Tessa Doe (the two scriptwriters) played photographer and reporter from Seend’s village magazine.
Michel Morris provided splendid piano accompaniment throughout, Jackie and Nathan Hamblin painted the scenery and the props and stage crew team was made up of Alan Bryer, Dave Field and Colin Waldeck. Lighting was by Paul Seemayer. Ex-Fawlty Players from the audience were welcomed on to the stage each night to join in the finale song, celebrating the group’s 40th anniversary. Proceeds from the show will go towards new play equipment for the Lye Field.