It’s Panto 2014






THERE is an ease with which the people of Langholm slip back into pantomime season. Wearing ludicrous outfits, belting out pop music hits and larking around with daft props is second nature to the Centre Stage Youth Theatre.

Panto fans and bemused newcomers were in for a treat as the group returned with a stomping performance of It’s Panto in the Buccleuch Centre. Glen Cavers, director, and Beth Smith wrote this new tale and both played leading roles.

Glen, Beth, Judith Johnson, assistant director, and Christopher Jones, producer, should be proud of their sell-out show. It is one of the most amusing pantomimes I have seen.

Guided by experienced performers, a cast made up of mainly eight- to 17-year-olds eloquently and effortlessly reeled off a sophisticated and hilarious script.

In the Kingdom of Langholm the palace is in uproar when the Evil Wizard (Sadie Cooper) casts a spell on the beautiful princess Genevieve (Beth). Sadie strode out to thunderous crashes and smoke and it wasn’t only the youngest members of the audience who got a fright.

Genevieve has only until midnight to marry or she will turn into a pumpkin. Beth plays the princess as you would expect – kind, polite, except to Prince Eugene, demure and charming. She does not want to marry the Evil Wizard nor the goofy Prince Eugene (Callum Henderson), the choice of her parents King Albert (Hazel Jeffrey) and Queen Agnes (Chloe Wilkes).

Callum does an amazing job keeping up the lisp. Hazel and Chloe are a perfect panto duo and the King’s anecdotes amusing. Princess Genevieve has only one young man in mind, the handsome Harry (Glen Cavers) who she meets while walking in the woods.

As a storm draws near, they are parted and the evil spell cast on the princess. The King and Queen seek help from the Fairy Godmother (Zoe Little) who plays a fun part keeping the younger fairies in check and came into her own during the musical numbers.

She heads to the cottage of Mrs Tinkle (Les Murray) who looks after Harry and her clumsy son Buckles (Christopher Tait). Les proved he was born to play a Dame and entertained with a very amusing Muckle Buckles who was a dab hand at this panto malarkey. Harry is a prince and needs to rescue his true love before time runs out with the help of Tick (Ruth Bell) and Tock (Millie Bell).

The unlikely hero is Derek the horse (Jonathan and Peter Wilkes) who embraced their non-speaking role and nearly upstaged everyone with their antics and dance moves to The Proclaimers’ I’m On My Way.

Laura May Wilkinson and Ashleigh Calvert should be commended for their various roles, while Michelle Sterling, Hilda the cleaner, kept the audience up-to-date.

Much of the fun was the sheer spectacle, especially the impressive dance routines and singing by the chorus.