Gags and innuendos were flying thick and fast; there was a wicked witch and Fizzy the Fairy doing her best to outwit the evil spells; a dame, a fool and some lovebirds.
Yep, you’ve guessed it, despite the festive season being well and truly out of the way it was panto time at the Guildhall Theatre courtesy of Derby City Council staff and councillors.
And what stars they all were. Mother Goose was a magnificent achievement by a team of amateur thespians and they certainly rivalled many a professional production.
Everyone involved was brimming with enthusiasm and the script written by the council’s communcations officer Richard Eaton was extremely impressive.
Hats off to the council’s chief executive Adam Wilkinson who played the title role.
The whole project was borne out of an idea he had had, but for him to take on such a huge role was very brave and he carried it off with gusto.
However, I think he was probably outshone on stage by Peter Ireson who played Mother Goose’s fool of a son Tom-Tom.
He was more like the son of Derby’s favourite master of tomfoolery Mike McClean he was such a natural in the role.
His part in the rendition of One Direction’s You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful just before the interval was absolutely brilliant. It was rewarded with a well deserved ovation.
The Wicked Witch of the East Midlands was played by an extremely confident Verna Bayliss.
Her presence on stage was electrifying and she worked the audience perfectly whipping them up into a frenzy of boos every time she appeared.
Her alter ego Fizzy the Fairy was played by Natasha Cartwright who took the title role in last year’s panto DiCC Whittington.
Natasha seemed to revel in the dippy but delightful role and charmed the adults and children alike.
There was a great moment when she borrowed a mobile from the audience to phone the Serco helpline and took a selfie with Priscilla the goose, played by Charlotte Pratley.
The love interest in the panto came in the shape of Jack, played by Sally Greatorex and Jill by Abigail Wilkinson.
The girls definitely deserve a special mention for their love-duets which I can assure you rivalled that of S Club’s Tina Barrett and Jon Moses in one of the festive pantos I saw last year.
The panto is staged to enable Derby City Council to give something extra to the community and foster a team spirit among the staff which eptimoses and extols the values of the council.
Over its four day run 200 free tickets are handed out to people who would not normally be able to see such a show. It’s a brilliant idea and long may it continue.
Other members of the cast were: David Aveyard (The Candlestick Maker), Stuart Boon (Georgie Porgie), Laura Butler (Polly), Tim Clegg (Grand Old Duke of York), Paul Drysdale (Pat A’cake), Libby Gaskin (Little Bo Peep), Adam Hague (Sheriff of Grottingham), Sue Jinks (Little Miss Muffett), John Keith (Doctor Foster), Pete Marriott (Humpty Dumpty), Paul McMahon (The Baker), Emma Price (Mary Mary), Margaret Redfern (Sukey), Margaret Sellors (Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe), Mark Sobey (The Butcher), Maureen Tierney (Queen of Hearts), Keith Venables (Pete, Peter Pumpkin Eater), and Evonne Williams (Mother Hubbard).
Behind the scenes were Lucy Bishop (choreographer), Helen Blakeman (assistant stage manager/sound operator), Dave Culling (music director), Paula Dugdale (deputy stage manager), Richard Eaton (writer), Mick Emerson (marketing assistant), Steve Greatorex (production manager), Lucy Greenhalgh (wardrobe assistant), Sharon Hancock (make-up/dresser), Pete Meakin (director), Andy Miller (designer), Kim Miller (company stage manager), Chris Munn (lighting designer), Laura Olding (follow spot operator)