Sunday, March 25, 2007

Best Panto in Years – fast, sharp, snappy script
Definitely the best pantomime the Bandhall Players have produced in the last few years; “Babes in the Wood” delivered a comic script – snappy one-liners, classic panto gags – A1 across the board for comedy, acting, song and dance routines. The Two Seans delivered as always – Sean Murphy a sight to behold wearing lycra tights (he wore three pairs, he wasn’t taking any chances) and Sean Bradshaw playing the baddie as always, masterful in the role of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. These pair never fail to deliver, never but what made this play different was the sterling performances from ALL THE CAST, right down to the chorus line and children on stage.

Owen Clarke with his singing ability is usually a safe bet for the ‘safe’ role of the leading man, traditionally an all too sweet prince seeking true love. This year, the Poulaphouca lad took on the role of Dangerous Dave aka Ditzy, Dozey, Dizzy, Dopey Dave and his poncing around the stage in a Mungo Jerry outfit (Jackson family wig, bellbottoms and 70s popstar shirt) was a sight to behold. He cracked the role and the audience cracked up laughing.

As for Bernie Dwyer playing Nurse Molly Coddle, she was pure dynamite! Yes, she had the better lines to deliver, particularly the clock routine “The second hand is the minute hand and the third hand is the second hand….” Abbott and Costello couldn’t have done it better. Throughout the play, she carried the role, never forgetting lines or dropping the accent.

Other actors who shone was Ronan Stephens in the role of roly-poly Friar Tuck and his panto routine with Sean Murphy on the balancing bench was brilliant. Robin’s merry men Maria, Shauna and Dan threw themselves into their parts with energy – this is another reason this presentation was a success, even actors playing minor characters played their roles with distinction. Elizabeth Brady as the forgetful fairy was a delight with long recitations to remember, I just loved her interpretation and Liz Haritgan (McDonald) shone in a lesser role as the less than vigilant guard.

Block ‘n Tackle
More classic gags from Alice Higgins and Orlagh Denver kept the panto going at a lively pace – good work, you two! I couldn’t help but remember producer Gerry Stephens and Carmel Moylan in a similar role in a previous panto. Even young Sadhbh Sheridan and Aoife Horan as Pip and Penny showed no sign of stage fright and gave confident, convincing performances.

Was it the sharp script that made this presentation a winner? The song and dance routines? It was a combination of both – not too much music, just enough.
The backing dancers were wonderful – Cara, Emma, Melissa, Cassie, Laura, Gemma, Lana and Larry Burke Hayes who deserves an Oscar for his delivery of the line “I’m the only gay in the village……” Oh no, you weren’t, Larry – Gaye Stephens was flying around organising Gerry’s 60th Birthday Cake. “Gerry is 60” I hear you ask. Yes, 60 going on 17 and lovin’ every minute of it!
(I thought Laura Reddy looked mega fit and doubly supple in the chorus line).
Emily, Fiona, Lucy, Heather, Mairead, Rebecca, Helen, Sofia and Alex gave wonderful performances – I just loved the pyjama scene, sweet young voices all. A real “Awww” number.

Who would I give my “Oscars” to? Well Sean Bradshaw was mighty as the miserable Sheriff of Nottingham – so miserable that he couldn’t buy poor Maid Marion (Laura Dunleavy) a new dress for her wedding day (she wore the same dress throughout the entire performance) but Owen Clarke just pips him for the Oscar for his interpretation of Dangerous ‘Ditzy’ Dave.

Funny and all as Sean Murphy was – and he always is, even without trying – Bernie Dwyer gets my second Oscar because she shone throughout the night as Nurse Molly Coddle.

Director and Choreographer Aoibheann Waldron and producer Gerry Stephens should have taken a curtain call because they did terrific work with a small cast, the end result being a sharp, fast-moving panto with the perfect mix of song and dance.

The Backstage crew – Paul, Ciaran, Tommy (Logistics manager – what the hell is that? Tommy Dwyer “Logistics”stated the programme - must be a type of Bird Flu) and Carmel, take a bow for yourselves along with Gerry Bell who supplied Christmas trees, Fiona and her young helpers for set design and Eimear for hair/ make-up. Well Done to one and all – best panto since Cinder Eile!

Apologies if I’ve omitted someone’s name, was too busy laughing on the night……..

Rose B O Donoghue

No comments: