The New Forest Players Pantomime 2020

This year’s production of Sleeping Beauty at The Memorial Centre given by the talented cast of The New Forest Players and directed by Sarah Haberfield was a resounding success and has received excellent media reviews, including this one below by Scene One, the online organ of the dramatic community:-

The New Forest Players on Stage

This production by The New Forest Payers is an adaptation of the delightful and much loved tale of Sleeping Beauty, with an expertly crafted script by Pantomime maestro Alan P Frayn. The result is an updated retelling of the story with originality and characters that have extravagant names (such as King Cactus!), accompanied by general silliness that develops into a magical world of fun and entertainment. There are jokes aplenty and a succession of funny lines, with a sprinkling of topical content and some familiar old chestnuts, complete with a good helping of adult innuendo (essential to a Pantomime), that bring forth lots of groans and laughter from the audience, young and old alike The songs have been chosen with care and are a mix of familiar favourites and contemporary pop that fit well with the storyline and weave seamlessly into the dialogue and unfolding action, which all bounces along at a lively pace.

Some of the large cast

There is a large cast in this production, almost 50 performers including the chorus, and everyone across the board sings their hearts out, dancing and delivering their lines well. There isn’t space in this review to mention everybody, but we should single out Alan Whitty who plays the Dame Nurse Hetty Harpic (who claims to be “clean round the bend”!), Martin Cox who plays Muddles, the Master of Ceremonies and clown (complete with an impressive Harlequin costume), Judy Anders who gives a star turn as Bad Witch Hazel, Emily-Jane Charge as the enchanting Good Fairy Lilac, Amelia Shipton as the lovely Princess Rose, Martin Bloor and Kerry Bloor as dim witted and clueless King Cactus and Queen Marigold, Jude Young as the handsome and dashing Prince Alexis, and Polly Glyde and Tina Ward who give splendid comic performances as the hapless pages Fetch and Carry. Special mention must also be made of Honey Neale, Megan Guppy, Niamh Tilley, Emily Day and Imogen Scannell who are bewitching as well as extremely cute in their performances as the five young Rainbow Fairies.

It really goes without saying that a show of this scale requires a large production and backstage crew, and each and every one involved can be pleased with their efforts. The Costumes are first rate and the ever-changing scenery of story book backcloths are excellent. Director Sarah Haberfield can be rightly proud of her achievements with this production.

Are there any faults or flaws or areas that could be improved? Perhaps, but none of that really matters when you leave the theatre feeling as if you’ve been thoroughly entertained and are already looking forward to next year’s New Forest Players production!