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KATS - Frankenstein The Panto

27th February to 1st March 2003.

From the NWN.

Laugh? We nearly died

Frankenstein The Panto, performed by KATS, at The Kennet School, Thatcham, from Thursday, February 27 to Saturday, March 1

Big bangs, big song and dance numbers , bucketsful of enthusiasm and even computer graphics all made this a pantomime well worth waiting for.

So OK, technically speaking we are out of the traditional panto season and while this wasn't the West End, we were west of the capital and that was good enough for the packed house that gave this robust production the warm reception it so richly deserved.

Suffering delightfully, we had an assured performance from Claire Bowden as Heidi, oppressed in true Cinderella-style by the money-grabbing Herr and Frau Pumpernickle (Mike Brook and Janet Kilgallon-Brook) whose Bavarian inn was the scene for the rollicking big opening number that set the high standard for the rest of the evening.

Anybody in the audience aged six months or over was in the more-than-capable hands of Jon Lovell (Frank N Stein) who warmed us up to booing and hissing pitch within minutes of the curtains parting to reveal a lively and inventive set.

Enter the Prince (Mandy Cole) in fine thigh-slapping style and Heidi was smitten. Unfortunately for her, Miss Nelly (Steve Lovell) turned up with gaggle of wickedly-wild school girls that no self respecting vampire would have gone near for all the blood in casualty.

Did mayhem ensue? Too right it did! Especially when the mad professor, a joyous creation in the shape of Mark Lillycrop, exploded from behind the laboratory door.

Enter the vampires, (well Mike Cole and Jemma Evans during the hours of sunlight), whose fine grasp of comedy and timing made you hope it wasn't all going
to end with a quick steak dinner for two.

And it didn't. All was resolved by a quick homage to TV quiz shows and riotous rendition of Monster Mash.

With too many fine performances to name in a cast of thousands and so much enthusiasm for the job in hand the entire audience could not help but go home fully in touch with the child still residing inside them. And guess what? Heidi got her Prince. Now there's a surprise.