BABES IN THE WOOD by Keith Whiteley††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Little Waltham Drama Group

The Memorial Hall,

Little _Waltham

16th January 1987

 

What a fortunate group you are to have a resident author: Your script was extremely skilful and this goes such a long way towards, the making of a successful village pantomime, which is essentially a very personal thing to the village

with the illusions to local organisations and personalities no††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† -doubt it was written with particular people in mind!

PRESENTATION

The set.I think you are vary brave to attempt a show with some 30 people

in the cast as this means that with a stage as restricted as yours, you have to keep the sets to a minimum. On the whole this worked with your various backcloths to show us where we were. The furnishings and properties were minimal, but were effective,

Costumes These were extremely well thought, out and right. They do form such an important part in any show, but in pantomime are of paramount importance because it is such a visual show. The Makeup was just right, with that of the Demon King, the Fairy Queen and Martha's in true pantomime style. Lighting - always a hit of nightmare, but it seemed to work on Friday night and the special spots for the Demon King and Fairy Queen were good. The small orchestra worked very hard with good effect.

PRODUCTION

A great deal was achieved on your small stage and you made considerable use of the Hall which meant we all felt involved. The pace of the pantomime is whet keeps the, audience with you, as there is such a thin story line and what there is is interrupted with songs; So when there is dialogue and story development this must be vary fast and when them are scene changes this must be slick. This was not always the case, and the whole production dropped and then itís so much harder for the next scene to get our full attention again. The interpretation of the script was quite good I know it should be as it was written and produced by Keith Whiteley, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, however, I felt that clever lines were not pointed up enough. There is a lot of wit here and the night I was there I felt some of it rather went for nothing, in fact parts of it had read better than it was played. The teamwork , such an essential part of a pantomime was extremely good, particularly Terry and Arthur, and also Will Scarlett, Robin Hood, Maid Marion and Sally. The use of the stagewas good, I felt you used it to its uttermost and the grouping and movement was good. I particularly liked the children's dance before putting the leaves on the sleeping babes.

 

Exits and entrancesagain an integral part of the pantomime, each entrance lifting the whole, were on the whole well manoeuvred.

 

ACTING

 

DEMON KING†††††††† Played in true pantomime style. You looked marvellous, and your rather fruity voice you used with great skill on some of the best lines in the play Your attack at the beginning of the evening was excellent. You did, I felt relax a little toy towards the end, you do have to keep the adrenalin going till the final curtain ,

 

Fairy Queen played in true pantomime style. I felt you could have been a little more expansive, especially in your arm movements, you should be able to command with your wand, as much of the stage as the Demon King can with his cloak outstretched. You must be evenly matched. A good voice and pleasing personality. I was sorry there were not more children there as they would have loved you.

 

WILL SCARLETT†† ††††A good interpretation of this part, and a pleasing singing voice we particularly enjoyed your thwarted efforts at the solo near the end.

 

BARON BYPASS Donít be afraid to be really bad. You can overact here as much as you like, overdo every emotion. Rave, embarrassment, so we know what a hypocrite you are. Your performance improved toward the end when you were being 'chased' and caught by Martha.

 

GROVEL I felt you didnít make nearly enough of this part. You have some lovely lines and they seemed to go for very little.You are a real 'Uriah Heap' and need to keep it up all the time. Do be on your knees if the Baron says 'Get up man' On the other hand if you are not, he should not have said it!

 

BUY BABE A very well spoken part. You kept in characterand we believed in you very much

 

GIRL BABE A very well spoken part. We felt very, sorry for you when in the Forest we believed in you.

 

TERRY A very good interpretation of this well written part. We enjoyed your performance very much. An excellent duo with Arthur.

 

ARTHUR A very good interpretation of this well written part. We enjoyed this performance immensely, especially your coping with a silent half of the audience.' Also the water scene. An excellent duo with Terry.

 

MARTHA Played in true pantomime style, rather overwhelmingly so, and the audience wasnít sure whether to laugh or not, but by the end of the evening your reaction to getting the Baron was much enjoyed. Your make up and costumes were quite incredible. Unfortunately your PTA song went for very little, may be it needed more introduction, or maybe it was that the audience was listening to the words very carefully, it was one of the cleverest in the show.

 

ROBIN HOOD A part which developed as the evening progressed. A bit underwritten at the beginning of the evening, but there was more to get your teeth into later in the play, we enjoyed your singing,

 

MAID MARIAN A good interpretation of this part. We enjoyed your singing.

 

SALLY An important partner for Will Scarlett, and you made up the quartet very well.

 

The chorus both the adults and the children were well rehearsed and moved with

conviction and together! The singing was super and filled the hall and the accompaniment just right.

 

Do remember it is better for the, audience to go home wanting more.

 

Pantomimes because of their lack of story have too much padding and very often go on some 10 minutes longer than they need. Do be careful about this, and prune and prune, only 1 or 2 verses of a song, not necessarily 3 or 4.

 

I do however congratulate you all on a successful show

 

I did like your programme format with all the information.

 

Good luck next weak with your performances at the Old Court Theatre,

 

Thank you also for reserving me a seat, it meant that I was able to have

a reasonably unrushed dinner with June Barry, an old friend, in Chatham Green,

 

Roseanne Kirkpatrick

 

20th January 1987