Robinson Crusoe - Loddon Players
Terry ReeveSt George's Lecture Hall, LoddonTerry Reeve
St George's Lecture Hall, Loddon
There was a different format, and new faces among the old in the cast, but this year's Loddon pantomime retained its long-standing tradition of family fun, lots of colour, skilful dancing and great sets and costumes.
And once again it was packed by the audiences right to the final night on Saturday which provided a fitting finale to all the hard work that has been put in by many people over the past five months.
Producer Steve Burton scripted a creative version of the age old story and the cast of 20 did it full justice, with Mike Catling filling the Dame role for the first time and taking to it eagerly and with considerable expertise. He was Myrtle, with veteran trooper Maureen Larkin there as always in her inimitable style as her sister Agnes. The two worked together well.
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As Smeeth, leader of the pirate band, Christian Lovick was impressive and his role was a high-light of the evening, well supported by his band - Tom Olive as
Daniel, Matthew Moore as Pug, Alice Bush as Jack and Henry Bown as Stump.
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Caroline Bown relished the role of the baddie Demon of the Deep, and looked the part, with Naomi Sadler her sister, Star of the Sea and the contrasting influence for good. Her singing and that of Emily Johnson as Forktree was a notable feature of the evening.
There was a powerful cameo role from Ian Fulcher as Captain Rufus, while others playing their full support in the show were Abigail Moore as Mary, Richard Wharton as Robinson Crusoe himself, Graham Orpet as Friday - here as a
loveable gorilla - Alice Purling as Bob, Melvin Frankland as Chief Knifebush, Gina Buntrock as Moonshine and Pauline Mason, Shula Howard and William Kerry as native warriors.
And once again the Funky Feet Dancers played a great part in the show with some well rehearsed routines carried out with confidence and assurance.
Sets and costumes were as impressive as ever, with Myrtle's spectacular finale costume in the form of a ship having a real wow factor.
Jack Bingham directed the pantomime and Laura White directed the music.