PUBLISHED: 08:04 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:36 18 June 2010
The Colaton Raleigh Players pantomime Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates proved to be a real winner, with the joys of traditional panto, the freshness of Paul Reakes script, ably acting by a cast of mixed ages and experience, deft direction by Chrissie Brimaacombe and strong musical content
The Colaton Raleigh Players' pantomime Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates proved to be a real winner, with the joys of traditional panto, the freshness of Paul Reakes' script, ably acting by a cast of mixed ages and experience, deft direction by Chrissie Brimacombe and strong musical content all combining to bring warmth and cheer at the end of a hard winter.
Miriam Barber made a spirited principal girl, Polly Perkins the barmaid, who led the company in a vibrant opening number. Her real life mother, Judy, made a most personable principal boy, Polly's true love, Robinson Crusoe. They delighted us with their super singing as did Alicia Highley, making a welcome return in the comedy role of Bessie, daughter of Captain Bowsprit of the Dancing Dolphin, in love with simple and shy Willie Robinson. Stephen Knight as Willie soon had us on his side and these two gave us generous helpings of fun, as did Peter Monnery, who was once again in fine form in his usual Dame role as Ma Crusoe. These three excelled in a side-splitting scene as they managed to sink the escape boat after the ship was blown up.
A powerful and impressive debut came from Kevin Bond, who made an imposing and authentic, evil pirate, Blackbeard, and he was so menacing he got plenty of boos. His sidekick, the incompetent Patch, was well played by Sheila Pink. They were no match for the dashing, swashbuckling female pirate "Crimson Hawk", played with sparkle and real authority by Miriam Barber - she was a real gem.
Super-trouper Cliff Coles was in good form as the Captain whose Dancing Dolphin, carrying Robinson and his treasure seekers, was blown up by Blackbeard and Alan Hulse made a suitably regal Neptune in his palace under the sea.
Newcomer Andy Turner made a pleasing Friday, befriended by Robinson on Treasure Island, and Tracey Salter made a loveable Gorilla. No Colaton Raleigh panto would be complete without the evergreen Peggy Halpin and she amused us as the threatening native Medicine Man with spear in hand.
Full marks go to adults and young people's chorus of Heather Dinnicombe, Betty Dawes, Gillian Forward, Lis McGill, Jade Mortimer, Libby Norman, Caroline Scott-Langley, Sam Turner, Keely Watkinson, Ben West, Harry West and children Charlotte Bond, John Elliott, Alexander Manning, Dominic Manning, Rosie Moger and Ollie Turner. They provided excellent support in singing, dancing and acting as pirates, natives, sea creatures and townsfolk.
Musical director John Davis did a first class job, ensuring the musical content was most enjoyable and the very last song at the finale was Colaton Raleigh Players' favourite, Riding on a Rainbow, which brought a super show to an end. This was village panto at its best.