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KATS - Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates

20th to 22nd February 2014.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

A purrrrr-fect panto

The cast enjoyed themselves, the audience enjoyed themselves - what more could you want?

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society: Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates, at Kennet School, Thatcham, from Thursday, February 20 to Saturday, February 22, on Friday, February 21

A host of colourful characters, a great storyline, lots of audience participation, a giant singing-man-eating plant and a large badly-behaved exploding microwave - KATS latest adventure was a real treat for all the family. With impeccable stagecraft to the fore, good direction from John Hicks and Bob Cole and snappy, well-executed choreography by Gemma Cole, it was a hugely entertaining production.

The principals were all strong and played with energy and enthusiasm and manfully(?) stepping up to the rather large role of Celia Crusoe (another man-eater), Paul Strickland gave a charming, funny and sound performance in his debut as a 'Dame', well done.

As Robinson Crusoe, Ceri Lawrence brimmed with energy and humour and Nick Prince as Captain Codpiece created a good character, with plenty of one-liners to giggle at. Robert Miles as Dr Defoe captured his role splendidly - here is a young actor with great promise.

As the not as daft as usual comedy duo, Sophie Chamberlain as Swash and Kim Jakubiszyn as Buckle must be applauded for their delivery and energy, and Eileen Paula stalked around with flair as Blackbeard, the villain of the piece. Bob Cole as Man Friday was slick and polished - an impressive all-rounder - and I loved Pam Hicks' portrayal of the Cannibal Queen. Finally, a special mention for a super cameo from Jake New as Benn Bunn, providing great comedy with his 'Walk this way!'.

The main principal action was underpinned with the array of smaller characters and an adult chorus; the musical numbers were lively and well executed. The junior chorus, from the Read Theatre School and choreographed by Sarah Martin, shone in their routines - it would have been good to see even more of them.

With attractive sets and costumes and excellent technical backup - creative lighting and loads of well timed sound effects - it was a very well rounded production. The cast obviously thoroughly enjoyed doing it, and the audience clearly enjoyed watching and joining in. What else could you want in a pantomime?