The Tea Tree Players have once again shown how talented they are when producing shows from dramas to comedies and their current pantomime production is no exception. Starting with a script by Joshua Dixon and Directed by Damon Hill the traditional story is there but with many local idioms, jokes and double entendres that the audience lapped up. One example was the IKEA dress for which you will have to go to the show for the punch line.
The castings were true to pantomime tradition with Tim Cousins as Dame Dotty Trott reacting with the audience, particularly with those in the front row, and showing his timing ability with the jokes to perfection. The villain, Fleshcreep, played by Mike Pole enjoyed the boos and hisses that he actively encouraged.
Zack Brittan was the hero, Jack, with his eye always on the prize of the hand of the lovely Princess Melody played by Indianna Rumsby. These two reacted to each other with actions and song. However some words were lost with the very pleasant but soft voice of the princess.
The voice of the giant Grumblehuff by Neville Phillis resonated through the theatre and his character was left to the imagination of the audience.
It was good to see Theresa (Lilly) Dolman on stage as the Queen alongside Barry Hill as the King. These two have been stalwarts of theatre for so many years that their performances seem to come naturally.
The introduction to various parts of the show was given by Sugarsnap the Fairy portrayed by the effervescent Hayley Mitchell. The role of having the audience respond with “Oi oi oi” whenever he appeared on stage went to Kyle McCarthy as Muddles who did not miss a beat. The villain’s offsiders were Bumble and Ramble portrayed by Keiran Drost and Clinton Nitschke who paired cleverly as not being very bright and easily fooled. Penny Phillips as Daisy the cow made this role her own when skipping across the stage or magically producing some very suspect milk.
The seventeen support actors whose ages were in a very wide range all seemed to relish being on stage and performing to a very appreciative audience.
Other ‘stars’ of the show were the young ones in the audience who did not need much encouragement to get on the stage when invited. They were aged from two to seven years old and became totally engaged with ‘He’s behind you’, booing the villain and other comments which encouraged the actors.
Damon Hill led the production team not only as the Director but also as the set designer which cleverly showed the town of Merryvale and then the giant’s castle to great effect. The sets were highlighted by the extremely clever lighting by Mike Phillips. The costumes by Jo Allenby, Barry Hill and The Monday Club were outstanding and the quick changes at times has us all in awe.
This production is a panto for the times that is suitable for all ages and will provide many laughs for young and old alike.