Puss in Boot, Watlington

RICHARD PARR Watlington Players pulled out all the stops to produce a song-and-dance panto that had it all.


Puss in Boots is not up there among the most popular pantomimes but the story still contains all the expected traditional ingredients.

Watlington Players pulled out all the stops to produce a song-and-dance panto that had it all; the fairytale, a pantomime donkey (as opposed to a cow), a loveable cat, the royal palace with a king and queen, and even a nasty giant – all dressed in lavish costumes and played against impressive colourful sets.

Penny Cooke's effective direction brought out the best of John Crocker and Eric Gilder's script but at 12 scenes it was rather too long, particularly for toddlers. A shorter production may also have quickened its pace.

David Lilley, a versatile veteran who has taken many leading roles, was wonderful as Queen Marmaduchess, effectively the Dame. In outlandish colourful costumes and a schoolmistress voice, he looked a mix of Hinge and Brackett and Dame Edna Everidge. He was hilarious in the bathing scene in a 1920's bathing belle outfit and the Army drill scene.

David Lebourn and David Mycock played it for laughs and were an audience favourite as Phiddle and Phaddle, respectively.

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Jim Harwood, as Demon Oldbad, the baddie who was always too late with his trickery, was excellent playing opposite Natalie Burton's charming sprite Youngood.

Veteran Players' husband-and-wife team Chip and Kate Carpenter found a new meaning of togetherness as the front and back of the donkey Neddy.

Claire Cooper spent the entire production walking backwards as Mistress Mary Quite Contrary while Sarah Creasey was an enchanting singing cat. Kay Crome made an imposing principal boy.

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