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KATS - Trouble in Pantoland

24th to 26th February 2011.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Pantomime mêlée

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society: Trouble in Pantoland, at Kennet School, Thatcham, from Thursday, February 24 to Saturday, February 26

Presenting a pantomime at the end of February is certainly different, but KATS managed to generate the Christmas panto atmosphere within minutes of the opening sequence at Kennet School last Friday afternoon.

The opening address fell to Lee Battersby, who was making his stage debut and was saddled with playing a wicked wizard whose name was Sue. He managed to make a pretty good job of it, though, even singing the old Johnny Cash song towards the end of the show.

The production was effectively a sort of parody of pantomimes, pulling in characters from the most famous, although Dick Whittington and Jack, of beanstalk fame, were missing.

Amelia, played by Beth Delaney, had a lot to do and did it very well; she could sing, act well and had good stage presence and you can't really ask for much more.

Robert Conway had lots of running, walking, hopping and jumping about to do, playing the Frog Prince, and seemed to be enjoying himself, as were the Wicked Queen, played enthusiastically by Kim Jakubiszyn, and Maureen Prince, Chrissie Watson-Taylor and Mandy Cole as three old witches.

Callum Battersby was a sympathetic Bert Butterfingers and Kevin Dunwell, did well, if you see what I mean, as Widow Twankey. Ellena Maskell, Clare Coppock and Sue Bennett made an attractive trio of Cinderella, Snow White and the Sleeping Beauty. Prince Charming was played with spirit by Paula Hart.

There were, in fact, good all-round performances from a very large cast, including several young juniors, all choreographed expertly by Carrie Marsh and her team. Considering the amount of hard work that goes into a show like this and all the strands to be pulled together - dancing, singing, acting, sound and lighting effects etc - everything worked very well indeed and director Kayleigh Dibble can be proud of her first production.

There were just a few minor blemishes - a singer off-key for most of his song, a slight lack of pace during some of the longer scenes, and the show appearing to run over time towards the end but overall, considering the mammoth task of putting a panto like this on, KATS did very well indeed, even if it wasn't quite purrrr-fect. Then again, in the wrong hands, it could all have been a KATastrophie.

Sorry, couldn't resist that.