Storm Dennis Couldn’t Rain on Cinderella’s Parade
It was sell-out audiences and not Storm Dennis that raised the roof of Pelham Hall last weekend. As high winds and rain battered Monmouth and surrounding villages, audiences were not deterred from enjoying the Penallt Panto Player’s hilarious production of Cinderella. One couple even braved the treacherous journey all the way from Southampton to see Cinderella get her man.
Rehearsals for this year’s show started in October and the group began working full swing on props and scenery in January.
The cast ranged in age from seven to 70, with ten of the 22 performers being under 17, including talented brothers Rory and Ewan Bredemear-Walters as the hilarious yet hapless broker’s men, Mr. Hammer and Mr. Tongs:
"After seeing last year’s panto, we were amazed and amused by the creativity and keen to get involved. We haven’t acted before so it was a bit daunting at first, but the whole thing has been a lot of fun" they commented.
Britt Needham, owner of dance shop La Danse in Worcester watched the opening night "I see several Pantomimes every year, mostly in professional theatres with huge budgets. For sheer entertainment value, I can honestly say this panto was the outright winner this year! I loved it."
Thanks to some sponsorship from Travis Perkins and the generosity of local resident Lance Rowell, the Players were able to add new curtains, a large backdrop, new scenery ‘flats’ and stage lighting all of which helped add to the magic of the pantomime.
The production did not go without a hitch though when, during an earlier dress rehearsal the lighting control box failed, leaving the cast swathed in green light. Fortunately, a temporary lighting solution was rigged up for Thursday’s opening performance and a replacement box was shipped over from Belgium in time for the rest of the run.
"For an amateur show it has a very professional feel, yet the whole production is run on a very tight budget” said its producer Bob Scarr who, along with his wife Nikki masterminded some amazing stage props and scenery, made from donated wood, paint and other materials.
"It helps that we have some very talented artists in the cast and community who, led by Niki Felstead (who played Major Dom), painted our fantastic backdrops and scenery.”
Tom Rigby the Pantomime’s Director who also took on the role of the ‘umble Baron Hard Up, said:
"Pantomime is a wonderfully entertaining and beloved British tradition with colourful costumes, fun-filled antics and jokes suitable for all ages. I’m delighted that we’ve been able start our own panto tradition here in Penallt because it really brings the wider community together. I’ve had lovely comments from people who came to see it and we’re looking forward to doing it all again next year.
I would like to thank everyone who came and supported as it wouldn’t be possible without an audience, and of course the cast, crew and volunteers who all contributed to making Cinderella another huge success. I’d especially like to thank the unsung heroes who stood in the torrential rain to steward and marshal cars, and ensure our guests could park up and get to the hall safely."
This year’s production has raised over £3500 which will be used to improve community facilities and access at Pelham Hall. The winning raffle prize of a Luxury Hamper was drawn on Saturday evening and won by Caroline Peters.