site search by freefind advanced

 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Silchester Players - Panto at the O.K. Corral

25th and 26th January, 1st and 2nd February 2002.

This review is from the Newbury Weekly News.

Wild about panto

'PANTO AT THE OK CORRAL', performed by the Silchester Players, at Silchester village hall, on Friday, January 25, Saturday, January 26, Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2

A panto set in the Wild West? Well, why not? As Silchester Players proved beyond all doubt last week, cowboys and indians can he just as much fun as Cinderella and Buttons, and they're better at line dancing too.

'Panto at the OK Corral' by Jim Sperinck is a hilarious variation on the traditional formula, but with all the usual interaction and sparkle.

The plot revolves around Clint Westwood, who arrives in Deadwood Gulch, searching for the evil Sheriff Small Holding, just in time to catch the ruthless lawman trying to throw poor Winnie Pegg and her family off their ranch. All kinds of mayhem ensue, before the sheriff is finally called to account for his wicked ways.

As the Dame Winnie Pegg, John Coffin gave a colourful, if slightly nervous performance, while Darren Lerigo, as her son James the Jessie, struck up an instant rapport with the audience, and brought cheery enthusiasm to every scene. The young romantic leads, Nicola Bratt as Clint and Jessica Miller as Jane, both came across with impressive confidence.

The sheriff, played by Tony Oliver, and his henchmen Butch Casserole and the Sun-Tanned Kid (Brian Gillett and Keith Graharn) worked together brilliantly, whether leading the audience participation song, miming to 'When will I see you again', while disguised as extremely dubious young ladies, or simply thwarting each others' attempts to appear mean and menacing. A fine comic trio.

There was a great cameo performance, too, from a deadpan Alan Moorhouse as Big Chief Running Bear, a particular favourite with my children. Lyn Davies as Diamond Lil, Geoff Murrell as Buffalo Bill and Jill Hutchins and Hayley Sitton as Buttons and Bows all added to the Western style and colour.

And let's not forget Mandy Larby and Sharon Macdonald-Grute as lightning, one of the most expressive pantomime horses I've seen in a long time!

Special credit must go to director/choreographer Sarah Oliver for the variety and polish of the chorus numbers. Silchester is lucky to have a strong junior contingent, oozing with enthusiasm, and it's great to see them all getting a chance to show what they can do.

'Panto at the OK Corral' continues this weekend. I thoroughly recommend it.