Babes in Wonderland, Loddon

LORNA MARSH The premise of this original story, that two children find themselves in a land populated by fairytale figures who bear an uncanny resemblance to the people in their village, lent itself to some fine gags and great characters.

LORNA MARSH

The premise of this original story, that two children find themselves in a land populated by fairytale figures who bear an uncanny resemblance to the people in their village, lent itself to some fine gags and great characters.

I wasn't alone in being particularly taken with Anthony Bunting who as Mrs Simple (in the 'real' village) and the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (in Wonderland) was everything a panto dame should be.

Bunting got masses of laughs throughout the show and thunderous applause at the end, and Maureen Larkin proved to be a great sidekick as Nellie Yapp and Old Mother Hubbard.


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Her dog Tiny, played by Pauline Mason, despite not so much as barking two words, still managed to make enough of an impression with her antics on my son, who said she was his favourite character.

Anna and Peter, the two children at the centre of the story, were played with a confidence beyond their years by Elizabeth Fulcher and Hayleigh Daniels.

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The pair not only managed to fly over hurdles that many a child panto actor stumbles on – fluffing lines and not projecting their voices – but brought real life to the story.

Other worthy mentionables were a charming Adam Taylor as Simon Simple and the Woodcutter, Steve Burton and Mike Catling as a very funny Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and Carolyn Dove as the evil Witch of the Woods and the beautiful Miss Wytchwood.

The choreography was excellent, with a young troupe of dancers performing faultlessly, and costumes, make-up, lighting and scenery were all worthy of a professional production.

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