Large cast deliver plenty of big panto laughs

Lewis James as Peter, Mac Curtis as Nurse Glucose and Ellie Brown as Polly
Lewis James as Peter, Mac Curtis as Nurse Glucose and Ellie Brown as Polly

A cheerful family audience appreciated the usual enthusiasm of the large cast of 27 in St. Annes Parish Operatic Society’s annual panto offering.

There was excellent work from Andrew Would, Malcolm Curtis and Geraldine Brown as the Sheriff, Nurse Glucose and Robin Hood respectively, each with a commanding stage presence. Youngsters Lewis James and Ellie Maden produced assurance and pleasingly clear diction as the Babes.

Phil Downie’s recorded soundtrack was spot on as a background to some colourful choreography, well-managed on a tight stage.

Lindsay Clarke and Alison Thornton showed neat comic timing as Snarlie and Charlie, but here the ditzy Claire Louise, a winning cross between Peggy from Hi de Hi and Bubble from Ab Fab, took the honours.

Producer and writer Paula Curtis relied more on verbal amusement than physical comedy or slapstick and too many words slowed the pace in some scenes.

In contrast Nurse Glucose skilfully had the audience on their feet, screaming the house down and blowing raspberries – no inhibitions here from anyone.

The Society will face a very different challenge with Fiddler on the Roof next July when the experience gained here by the youthful and well-drilled chorus will stand them in good stead.

Julian Wilde