THE WANTED POSTER of the horse’s head on the set of The Last Chance Saloon indicated the type of night we were in for: – “Missing Ned – Last seen in Tesco”.
Yes, “There’s Gold in Hedonsville” at the Alexandra Hall last night included lots of topical jokes that adults can enjoy. Pantomime is not just about the kids, but it’s for ‘grown-ups’ too!
The Panto action takes place in Hedonsville, which is next to the Preston Coral and near Dry Thorngumbald Gulch and revolves around the evil plan of the Mayor – Mayor Meyer – to drive everyone out so that he can benefit from the secret gold mine under the town.
There’s some really nice moments in the show, particularly the banter between the shockingly, purple-haired Dame Mama Mambo (Dave Jordan) and Mexican Pete (Cat Webster). The pair seem to feed off each other and the audience and deliver very natural, off-the-cuff, comedy routines. This is a duo that would really thrive in and benefit from a larger and noisier audience!
There are opportunities for audience members to get involved i.e. volunteer or be coerced; kids will love the Wig Wam Bam dance, while parents can help to mix the ‘Truth Cocktail’. And you must greet the main characters with a shout of “Ye! Haa!”
The only criticism of opening night is the loss in volume from some characters – at moments I couldn’t hear all of the words. But all this is something that was improving as confidence with the performance grew. There’s an audience responsibility as well; boo, hiss, shout “Ye! Haa!”, sing, join-in – and the cast will inevitably respond in like-manner!
Special mention of the night must go to Helen Beet (pictured) who sang two absolutely cracking songs – a great voice, a great singer!
So leave Hedon behind this evening – or tomorrow evening (and Matinee at 2:30pm on Saturday!) – and go and see Skint Westwood, Cool Hand Fluke and Tom Jones (honestly!) in Hedonsville. Have fun with the show and the Hedon Drama Group – and they will entertain and delight you with some real belly-laughs on the way!
*The opening night of the Hedon Panto experienced a technical fault (a “blown fuse”) which resulted in the stage lighting not working including the ‘blackout’ that would normally have accompanied scene changes, but this did not seem to detract from the performance.