Camelot the Panto 2018

Congratulations to Hardington Players who entertained us all so brilliantly with Camelot the Panto in January. From the beginning, with the colourful opening chorus, you could see that an enormous amount of work and effort had gone into the production. The scenery was imaginative and very professional, the costumes sparkling and the effects and lighting excellent. Camelot might not sound like a traditional panto, but oh yes it was! Over the top dame Connie played by Andrew Middleton kept us laughing at his antics and his outrageous costumes and make-up. Baddie team of the magnificently menacing Tanya Ogden as Morgan Le Fay, wonderful thumb sucking mummy's boy Valerin played by Wendy Simmonds and his bossy mother wonderfully portrayed by Irene Tizard, had us booing their every appearance. Jon Margetts as Laughalot confidently led the audience participation as he implored us to give him courage, and the object of his affections, Jane Woodcock, was gentle and kind as Nell. Every panto needs a Prince Charming, and Amie Gold as Prince Arthur, was perfectly cast as the dashing hero. His bride to be Guinevere, was a modern princess however, and not prepared to be married off to just anyone. Teenager Sophie Broom not only looked the part but maturely handled the role with the skill of someone much older. David Beckley as Merlin, entertained us with his magic, and his extraordinary wig, while his alter ego Nilrem and singing Dave the snake, voiced by Elaine and John Gilmore added to the magic and mayhem. I loved the joke of the youth potion which old Merlin drank transforming him into young Merlin played by smiley Frank Grave in the final scenes. My favourite character has to be Teddy, in the guise of Karen Clothworthy - word perfect! Her facial expressions and gestures had us all laughing, and never more than in the scenes where she was smitten with the pompous King Uther, played expertly as expected by Alan Grassam. I loved too, Clare Middleton as baddie Marlon with his huge invisible brother Garlon. Clare managed to convince us of his existence throughout the performance. I began to believe Garlon really existed - in fact I am sure he did. Special mention to the Evil Sisters who opened the second act with a funky performance of Thriller, and those lovely junior knights who were reluctant warriors and ran off! Well done too, to the backstage Blues Brothers who made an upbeat appearance before the finale and had everyone clapping along. This superb production was directed by Tanya Ogden and produced by Anne Lunt. Elaine Peters was the musical director and Stewart Ogden did a wonderful job as stage manager. The programme lists over 50 people involved with the production and every one of them can justifiably be proud of a job well done. I look forward to the Players 30th winter performance next year.

Linda Lines