Broadstone Pantomime Productions  War Memorial Hall, Broadstone Jill Richmond

13 January 2024

This pantomime written by David Gigg, a relatively new member of Broadstone Pantomime Productions, is a success. The audience on Saturday night were completely drawn into the spirit of pantomime and I defy anyone to watch this and not to leave with a smile on their face. All things panto are at threat from The Basic Witch (Kelly-Anne Singleton) who wishes to end Panto for ever (Boooooooo!) and PantoMan (Andrea Pellegrini), the superhero protector of all things panto, is going to do his best to save the day, after all otherwise “What will ex-celebrities do for a living?”.

Andrea Pellegrini’s energy on stage is unstoppable and engaging throughout, a performance that provides great movement across the stage with strong vocals. I left wanting to be PantoMan. Kelly-Anne Singleton brings the evil to proceedings, but the script allows us to see her softer side, a contrast which Kelly-Anne Singleton handles with ease, a highlight being her beautiful solo. “Such a motivated backstory [PantoMan]”.

It was lovely to see so many younger members of the production involved, with Dominic Parsons playing PantoBoy with enthusiasm and confidence, and Clara Singleton (Sleeping Beauty) with poise. Sophie Brackenborough plays SnowWhite with elegance as her first big role outside of school.

David Gigg (also playing Dick [Whittington]) allows in his writing for even the possibly smaller parts to have their moments, which the characters Tom (Emma-Jane Whittaker), Dick and Harry (Leah Jane) beautifully take advantage of as they fight for “Better representation for minor characters in panto!” Well done to Bella Janes and Isla Dolman for playing MilkyWay, the cow on the run, with such humour!
All pantos need a Dame and Terry Madge plays Dame Dingledum to perfection with a strong command of the stage and traditionally ruder jokes for the adults.

The structure of the panto is such that you can never get bored, allowing younger audiences to remain engaged throughout. The bright costumes visually light up the stage when the cast gather as the action intensifies. The painted backdrops are beautiful and the use of tinsel foil curtains for stage exits adds panto glamour.

Songs punctuate the panto well, with great vocals and performances from Hansel (Brayden Smith) and Gretel (Danielle Nock). The duos in the panto were all well cast. Anna (Elisha Cave) and Elsa (Slaney Gilson) are lovely parts. Slaney Gilson performs ‘I see the Light’ with Matthew Tyler (Robin Hood) captivatingly, both strong performers and singers. Matthew Tyler also plays Scarecrow and has another song to watch out for with PantoMan (Andrea Pellegrini), ‘Ease on Down the Road’.

It may just have been me, but I didn’t know all the songs and it would have been helpful in the programme to have the running order. The programme was well designed and informative otherwise.

Amanda Senitt as The Narrative and Michael MacKey as Merlin both bring their own highlights and comedy to their parts and are engaging to watch.

The cast work well together and are supportive of one another, they have a connection and confidence that make the audience feel relaxed and in safe hands, so well done to those not yet mentioned, but who all helped bring happiness and fun: Debbie Southern (Aladdin), Jenny Davidson (Fairy Goodworks), Kerri Widley (Captain Cook), Lesley James (Rumplestiltskin/Jack), Michael Parsons (Knuckles), Michael Rustici (Gepetto) and Vincent Sherry (Garston).

David Gigg is clearly a talented writer and I hope we see much more of his work in the future.

Don’t miss out on an original work performed well, with four more performances left at the time of writing: Sunday 14 January (2:30 pm), Friday 19 January (7:30 pm) and Saturday 20 January (2:30 pm and 7:30 pm).