Beauty and the Beast
RICHARD PARR Watlington Players at Watlington Village Hall
> Watlington Players at Watlington Village Hall
Kate Carpenter's sparkling production of this classic fairytale drew out the rich threads of comedy contained within David Swan's original script. And it had a strong French flavour (attempts at French accents and the Can-Can dancers' regular appearances well reflected this).
Foremost among the colourful comic characters was Jimmy Harwood in his role as the dame, Widow Bonbon. Mr Harwood, in his second role as dame, made the best of his demanding role and was a favourite with the sellout audiences.
The introduction of some new characters made a welcome change and included the “traffic warden” duo of Nosey Parker and Kirby Crawler (played by Dave Mycock and Laura Norman respectively) and Elaine Carpenter's Candy and Julie Long's Flossie (a sort of updated Ugly Sisters), with Hugh Pearce as Sherbert who kept audiences up to date with the plot.
Simon Carpenter was sufficiently tall and physically well-built for the role of the beast, playing opposite Kate Morrison's delightful Bonnie (beauty).
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The show also saw a promising debut by eight-year-old Fraser Davidson who acted his heart out in several roles, including a Jack-in-the-Box that came to life in the nursery.
Sets and costumes were up to the Watlington Players' high standards and there were several clever special effect scenes, including the ultra-violet wedding feast sequence and the castle dragon.