Puss in Boots at Sion Baptist Church brings new sparkle to pantomime
Puss in Boots was a wacky and wonderful production bringing plenty of colour and fun to the stage at Sion Baptist Church, Burnley.
It brimmed with traditional elements, including slapstick comedy, a charismatic dame and plenty of lively song and dance routines.
It tells the story of a poor miller's son Jack, who attempts to win the heart of Princess Alice. His clever cat Puss offers to help him outwit the town's evil ogre to impress Alice, in exchange for a pair of boots.
Puss in Boots, which puts a twist on tradition, was a brilliant choice for a February show, a time of year when people are changing their habits.
The interactive aspects also went down well with the audience, who roared in appreciation.
It was hard to believe the actress in the leading role of Jack is just 14-years-old. Eloise Clegg, a natural on stage, had the confidence of someone more than twice her age.
She was paired up with Marcia Turner as Puss, whose ability to make people laugh with a mere gesture or glance made for an evening of infectious fun.
Layla Hare also took on her first principal role in the show at just 16-years-old. Playing Princess Alice, the talented dancer showcased admirable grace and skill, shining in a ballet routine.
At the mere age of 19, PJ Hitchcock could well be the youngest dame I've ever seen in a panto. Armed with charisma, confidence and comedic talent, he was nothing short of a triumph as Jack's aunt, Dame Hettie Quette.
Abby Lawless (13) and Isobel Duckworth had brilliant chemistry as the dimwitted henchmen working for the evil Lord Roger. With all the playfulness she brought to the character, it's no surprise Abby was cast for the second time as part of a comedy duo. Isobel also injected the show with plenty of laughs, and given she normally takes a leading part at Sion, the actress showcased fantastic range.
Rob Bennett made for a terrific villain as Lord Roger, whom the audience loved to boo, while Mark Lawless and Emma Waters starred opposite each other as the King and Queen, earning plenty of laughs.
Aimee Duckworth led the madness and merriment as Arabella the narrator, bringing an extra quirky element to the show and completing the principal cast.
Backing the team of actors were Yvonne Roberts as the royal coach and Sarah Nutter as the dragon, as well as a strong chorus, of whom the biggest laugh of the evening was achieved by one of the youngest cast members dressed as a green bunny! He had a simple line but it was full of sweet and innocent confidence that we all hope a child never loses - and it melted the heart!
Director Amy Tattersall and assistant directors Gordon Tattersall and Marcia Turner have done a great job of putting together a merry show full of farcical fun. And it couldn't have been achieved without the hard work of the volunteers behind the scene, so well done to them too.
Puss in Boots is perfect for families. While it has all the traditional elements, it also brings something original and quirky to the genre, giving it new sparkle.
Performances continue tonight until Saturday at 7-15pm. There will also be a Saturday matinee at 2-30pm.
For tickets, please call the box office on 01282 453295.