Review: A modern twist on the traditional panto goes down a storm with first night audience

The cast of 'Treasure Island- A Musical Panto' are all ready to set sail with the audience.
The cast of 'Treasure Island- A Musical Panto' are all ready to set sail with the audience.

The traditional pantomime format has been given a modern twist by a Burnley theatre group. And the first night audience loved it!

'Treasure Island - A musical Panto' is based on an original script by Edward P Munday for Greenbrook Pantomime Society and what a fabulous show this is.

From the moment the curtain rises the audience are on the crest of a wave with Captain Buckaroo and his trusty sidekicks Smee and Rosemary the cook as they set sail in search of treasure on the Scabby Donkey.

Edward Munday has natural comic timing that made him perfect for the role of dozy Smee and Rebecca Munday is such a wonderful comic actress it's hard not to smile when she is on stage. The pair were the lynchpins of the show for me.

The first 'twist' comes as Buckaroo, played by Ryan Bradley, employs a band of pirates, unaware they are all women in search of adventure on the high seas. And girl power rules the day as they down tools and refuse to do all the menial tasks on board.

The pirate, were played by Debbie Hargreaves, Grace Astin, Olivia Hirst, Emily Greenall and Amelia Hirst. They worked well together as a team, bouncing off each other with perfect coming timing.

And the heroine of the show is not the usual meek and mild damsel in distress. Belle, who is Buckaroo's daughter, is played by Helen Ingham with great charm and sincerity. She wants some adventure in life and also to find someone who loves her for herself and not some idealised version of a woman.

She finds both when she meets Prince Wakanda on a beautiful island. The prince is played with great ease by panto stalwart Martyn Green who has to find himself a wife before he can take his rightful place as king.

Romance blossoms with Belle and the moment they begin to sing Endless Love, while being constantly interrupted by Smee and the rest of the cast being chased by two gorillas in the background, is hilarious.

And watching David Gorton talk his way through the pop classic Coming In The Air Tonight was an inspired piece of casting. David almost stole the show with his deadpan delivery of this great character creation. And have you ever seen a witch doctor in sparkly red high heels?

His two henchman were played by Michael Dyas and Nathan Prendergast in another inspired piece of casting.

The energetic chorus of youngsters really threw themselves into the show working their way through an eclectic mix of songs, from the frustratingly addictive Baby Shark to some of the best known hits from The Lion King, The Greatest Showman and Moana.

The rest of the cast includes: Sophie Prendergast, Darcey Hirst, Evie Kelly, Grace Evans, Abigail Riley, Elodie Lalor, Elsie Moggeridge, Lucie Fisher, Evie Greenall, Tilly Johnson, Lily Dickens, Phoebe Heyes, Ruby Cryer, Oscar Bradley, Joshua Abbott and Mason Shine

Bravo to everyone involved in this production, yet again you have pulled off another great show that I would recommend to anyone.

Treeasure Island runs tonight, tomorrow and then next week Thursday to Saturday again (January 16th to the 18th). There are also matinee performances on both Saturdays.

Tickets, which are priced at £8 and £5 for children and senior citizens, can be obtained by calling Susan on 01282 719462.

Family tickets are also available at £23 with Thursday only block booking rates also available.