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St Mary's Drama Group - Panto at the OK Corral

19th to 21st February 2004.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Town goes wild for Kintbury's cowboys

St Mary Drama Group: Panto At The OK Corral, at The Coronation Hall, Kintbury, from Thursday, February 19 to Saturday, February 21

Kintbury was a one-horse town last week when the Coronation Hall became Deadwood Gulch.

Well two actually, because St Mary's Drama Group again used ingenuity to open their panto. In came a stagecoach and horse bringing Diamond Lil to her new saloon bar. What an entrance.

Lil was met by several locals and Sheriff Smallholding - a nasty piece of work if ever there was, his stare like a rabbit caught in car headlights. This was the maiden performance for Ash Singal and I am sure that it won't be his last. However, his habit of adjusting his dress when he left the stage convinced me he must have been wearing a thong.

Lil, in contrast, was loud, bubbly and colourful, played by Catherine Hedges who had the audience on her side from the start.

Gerry Heaton made sure that Dame Winnie Peg did not let us down. He has been the Dame in so many performances that he wouldn't be recognised if he wasn't wearing a wig and false bosoms.

Ollie Bridges, another panto veteran, played her son James the Jessie - every inch the country yokel. How he didn't damage his throat with his pubescent croak is beyond me.

In all of the Kintbury pantomimes that I have seen they have put together a duo who give a slick, funny performance. This year, Nick Barrett and Steve Cook as Butch Casserole and the Sun Tanned Kid were brilliant -another Morecambe and Wise in the making.

The second horse, Lightening, was owned by Winnie and, although it wouldn't win at Newbury races, Sian Hurst and Vicky Crook were certainly winners for timing and movement.

Every year the children are excellent and the cast list again showed an abundance of brothers and sisters, under the watchful eye of Fiona Cath as Goldie.

They were so well behaved and sang with such gusto that she had an easy task. She is a great dancer which was evident in the line dance routine.

This year, instead of just singing, the cast mimed to Shania Twain and I don't think the vision of Gerry Heaton performing to Feel Like A Woman will leave me for many a year.

It might have been better to call this Wild West panto Pun-to at the OK Corral as it was peppered with puns from the cast names to the locations.

It was a clever, well-scripted piece and all credit must go to director Chris Trigwell, the backstage crew and to A.J. Montgomery and Matt Trigwell for the music.

For me the one thing that sets the Kintbury audience apart from others is that they join in from the minute the lights dim, they heckle, sing, clap and thoroughly enjoy it.