The North West Essex Theatre Guild

 

LITTLE WALTHAM DRAMA GROUP

"PUSS IN BOOTS"

The Memorial Hall, Little Waltham - 19 January 2000

 

A traditional pantomime by Norman Robbins adapted and updated by the Producer and her Production Team.

 

FRONT OF HOUSE

Very welcoming front of house star, shown to my reserved seat which had a good view of the stage and plenty of leg room. Refreshments offered for the interval. I was pleased to have two copies of the programme, one to scribble on and one to take home. Your programme was very comprehensive and I particularly liked the list of songs and the words for the audience participation, very helpful. If you are issuing a strobe warning, try to put it on the page that will be most read, the cast list or opposite?

 

PRESENTATION

The hall had a good atmosphere and I was very pleased to see you had live music, getting rare these days. I particularly liked the music from "Cats" and the glitter ball before curtain up, very effective, overture was commendable. I do like to settle down to some music.

 

SETS, FURNITURE AND PROPS

For such a small stage, you managed a good number of changes, I particularly liked the lake backcloth. The game show set and props were particularly effective, well done.

 

COSTUMES

Costumes were excellent, appropriate for the characters. I think Princess Miranda could have done without the train on her otherwise very pretty dress, trains are difficult to handle and she seemed to be in difficulties at times, due, perhaps to your limited space. Bug and Megabyte looked brilliant and Puss was outstanding. When you dress your chorus, could you look at them more individually? When listed in the script they are usually described as villagers/citizens/ peasants etc. and they would not all be dressed the same. Dressed in the same style, obviously, but not exactly the same. You did have some variety of colour but try to avoid using the same colours in the chorus as used for your principals costumes. I know I am being very "picky" here and I have said much the same to other groups. I think we sometimes get carried away by the description "chorus" but a pantomime is not a musical with a line up of chorus girls. I'm glad the ladies had hats. Try and invest in some coloured tights if possible, matching tights are very fetching and modern tights look like bare legs.

 

MAKE-UP AND HAIR

Principal ladies and chorus not overdone - good. Bug, Megabyte and Puss were excellent, congratulations to the make-up ladies. You had some very good wigs.

 

LIGHTING

Excellent lighting, particularly the game show scene.

 

SOUND/SPECIAL & WIZARDRY EFFECTS

Very well done indeed. The Gameshow effects and the t.v. screen were very clever. The bat, the skeleton etc. were excellent.

 

MUSIC

As I have said I was pleased to see a real band. The Musical Director and his team did extremely well. I liked the "theme" music when a particular character same on and you did some good cover linking, this is so often lacking, leaving empty gaps and pauses. The singing on the whole was very good. Opening music for Act II was a nice cheerful selection.

 

PRODUCTION AND CHOREOGRAPHY

This was an excellent production, nicely paced with good use made of the doors in the auditorium for entrances and exits. The choreography must have been difficult on your small stage but you did well, most people knew most of the steps nearly most of the time!. I enjoyed the line dancing but I'm not sure why you put it in? When I read the script I was worried about the insertions and was even more worried when I saw from the programme you had replaced Hector and Caspar with Gladys and Betty but my fears were laid to rest. The replacement of Puss was a great idea and the female duo really were great fun. I liked the finale of Act I with "Music Of The Night" (I don't know why some of the audience thought it was funny!) but it might have been an idea to open Act II with the reprise, because it was so good you could have used it as a straight continuation, and then put "Clambake" in, it would have given a smooth continuation. The "Thigh High Boots" jive was excellent. Nice movement in "Wonderful Day" and "All Stand Together" they were good. If a Prologue is used remember that it settles the audience down and you really need to follow with an upbeat number for openers. "Where is Puss In Boots" was nicely sung but rather slow and static for the opening number. The Queen's dome hat was a splendid idea. The ghost mask was really frightening. Interesting to note that the children were frightened of Bug but not of the ghost! The Gameshow was a great idea. A very good production.

 

ACTING

Everyone did well, some are more experienced than others but it was all very pleasing.

 

MOTHER COMFORT

You looked exactly like a comforting mother and linked the story together nicely. Your wooden spoon "wand" should have been in your right hand, it goes with the S.R. entrances. I know the left hand is upstage but we must stick to the rules in panto.

 

MARJORY DAW

.You looked nice and worked well throughout.

 

JACK SPRATT

Here again you looked good and partnered Marjory well.

 

GLADYS AND BETTY

I couldn't have been more wrong with my worries could I? You were the funniest pairing I've seen for a long time, extremely well done both of you, you really made me laugh.

 

PETER

A slapped thigh! At last! First one I've seen this season!

You looked every inch the principal boy. You moved and sang well. Well done.

 

OLD PUSS

Poor old Puss, you didn't get much to do but you did it well.

 

PUSS IN BOOTS

How do I describe this? A bravura performance, I think. You looked so "Cats"-like in your costume and make-up. Excellent performance. Good with the ad Jibs but do please make sure you don't overdo it. The double entendre is extremely funning if used sparingly. It is easy to get carried away with the repartee with someone in the audience but you must remember we are entertaining the kiddies. I wanted to get up and jive to "Thigh High Boots" but I'm a bit past it, pity. This was a skilful performance. Well done. You can come and sit on my hearthrug any day!

(When I put my spellcheck on, it stopped at hearthrug and offered heartthrob!)

 

BUG

Oh! Dear! You frightened the kiddies. I know what it's like, I've done it myself Don't worry about it, that is what you are supposed to do, if they are not scared then it isn't working and in your case it certainly did. I loved your body language, that sort of knees-bent stance you adopted. Your costume and make-up were excellent. An extremely competent performance. Well done.

 

MEGABYTE

What a super part you had. You looked great, you sang well. "Music Of The Night" was extremely good, very atmospheric scene. Well done.

 

QUEEN FANNY

You did look like a traditional dame. I don't go for the Danny La Rue glam type dames. We really want a dame that we like and can relate to. You had a good relationship with the audience. "Keep Young & Beautiful" was a good number. You sing well and move well. Very nice performance here.

 

LORD CHAMBERLAIN

You looked nice and stately, competent performance. "Clambake" was good. Well done.

 

FRECKLES

Very entertaining performance. Costume was appropriate. Jokes came over well.

 

PRINCESS MIRANDA

I have mentioned your train earlier. You looked very pretty, which is exactly how a principal girl should look. Very nice cheerful performance.

 

 

CHORUS

Well done chorus, you obviously worked hard to achieve the result we enjoyed. You looked happy, lots of nice smiles. A very good looking group.

 

CONCLUSION

From presentation to conclusion this was a polished panto. Well done to the whole company. It was a most enjoyable evening. Thank you for inviting me, I hope to see you again sometime. Good luck.

 

Liz James