Review of Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society’s pantomime ‘Little Red Riding Hood’

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society’s pantomime ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ at Witchford Village College was a sheer delight. A stage full of colour, a cast with genuine smiles on their faces and all the necessary ingredients of a good pantomime kept us wholly entertained for the entire evening.

As in all good pantos, there was a host of varied characters: The Good Fairy (Lucy Short) and the Big Bad Wolf (Steven Barker) were highly talented contrasts representing good and evil. Attractive and charming Red Riding Hood (played by Maisie Peckham) and Billy (Claire Mead), a ‘handsome’ young wood cutter, made an ideal lead couple that went through many trials and tribulations until they finally lived happily ever after and the wonderful Dame Robyn Hood (Neil Pilling) filled the stage with hilarious over-the-top antics and amazing changes of costume. Jack (Keith Gallois) and Jill (Helen Williamson) were marvellously child-friendly, with Helen’s facial expressions and their gestures enhancing even further the highly amusing characters they had created. They were the ones who certainly raised audience participation several notches. Three piggy stooges added much to the humour. Slow-witted Sonny (Lee Coney) with his fellow ‘builders’ Al (Chris Grant) and Rich (Rob Parker) were great characters with highly effective piggy squeals. Andy Watkins made a fine Woodcutter while Teresa Dixon was an excellent globe- trotting Granny in search of a Yeti (yet another interesting addition to the amusing plot).

The whole cast exuded warmth and enjoyment. The singing, dancing, choreography, scenery, costumes and drama were good quality stuff and we were soon led into a world of nursery rhyme and evil deeds that developed and were eventually vanquished. The band (Jonathan Carter, Trevor Carter, Naomi D’Cunha and John Rodford) was phenomenal, leading and supporting great music. 

The stage was frequently filled with large groups of delightful actors and dancers who brought the place alive: namely: those in ‘Upside Down’, the 80’s girls, the Wolverines and the Fairies in training.

Particular highlights for me included Aaron, Dyland and Sophie and troupes’ ‘That’s what Makes you Beautiful’, Lucy and company’s ‘Upside Down’ and Steve Aaron Dylan and company’s ‘Boys are Back’.

Director and choreographer Lisa Barker, Producer Paul Mead, Musical Director Jonathan Carter and musical coordinator Naomi D’Cunha and their teams are to be congratulated for such a wonderful show! 

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