With a pretty, seasonal look, the snow-covered village of Merryvale is the setting for some must-see festive fare. Born-to-be-bad Baron Blackfly (the engaging Tom Owen) ensures a strong opening, at some performances abetted by his scene-stealing canine companion. They fight out the age-old battle of good and evil with winsome Fairy Peapod. In this glittering role Jade Ellis (The X Factor) gives the character interesting edginess with her soulful voice and engaging personality.
As outrageously costumed and larger than life traditional Dame Tilly Trott, Stuart Lumb has an amazing singing voice. As a duo dressed in eye-catching pink gowns he partners King Willy The Umpteenth (Mark Stuart-Wood) in a remarkable duet that reflects the pair’s Britain’s Got Talent drag act Bosom Buddies.
Caroline Barnes as Pretty Princess Jill maintains the magic in this fast-moving story, a versatile and graceful performer, her charm and sincerity shine through.
With the band, directed by Dave Hughes, setting a lively pace, this pantomime has all the favourite ingredients including a lively action song, and dramatically-lit dance routines choreographed by Vicky Leggett. An exhausting Twelve Days of Christmas ensures Stuart Wade’s Simple Simon keeps the actors on their toes with comedy ad libs that get huge laughs.
Impressive as lumbering and fearsome Giant Blunderbore, Rachel Baird towers over young Jack (Russ Spencer) as he engages the Giant in a fight to save Jill from becoming the giant’s bride – or breakfast!