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COLYTON: Pantomime favourite revived as Colyton

Friday, 24 January 2014

Alice in Blunderland Colyton Theatre Group Colyton Town Hall

COLYTON Theatre Group celebrated its 40th anniversary last week, with the return of their popular show “Alice in Blunderland”, first performed in 2002.
To mark the special occasion, the group will be putting on a number of their favourite shows throughout 2014, all of which they have performed in the past, and they got off to a great start with their annual pantomime, directed by Lyn Henley, at Colyton Town Hall last week.
Taking the lead role of Alice was Debbie Meakin, who took the quirks of “Blunderland” in her stride having mysteriously arrived after falling asleep in the park. Alice quickly falls for charming artist Harvey Hackett, the principal boy played by Sandra Henson, and the pair join the stern Brigadier Bunny Warren (Jeff Hutchinson) and his underground army of cute rabbits – a favourite with the audience - to take down panto villain, the Red Queen (Cynthia Bell).
Alice and Harvey are joined in their efforts by young lovers, court jester Jolly and kitchen maid Prunella, played by two of the group’s senior members, Roger Bagg and Wendy Cann, who made the most of playing the young couple with several romantic duets.
On their travels they also meet the groovy Cheshire Cat, a character revived by local stage regular Simon Ford, who first took on the role in the 2002 production. In a stand-out performance and big hit with the audience, the guitar-playing hippy advised the others to “make love, not war” as they tried to avoid the terrifying troll (Paul Hannon Sitton), the camp, ballet-dancing executioner Tarquin (Philip Price) and the Queen’s less-than-menacing “assassins and general terrorisers”, Tweedle Dee and Dum (Mike Ilsley and Mick Askew).
The two sides come face-to-face at the Mad Hatters tea party where things escalate into a classic panto slapstick custard pie fight, with Jerry Parkhouse playing the nonsensical hatter and Holly Sweeney his sleepy dormouse.
Alice and Harvey are finally captured after slaying the menacing troll and the Red Queen threatens to chop off their heads. But it is Jolly and the usually obedient Red King, played by town crier Derek Wenn, also taking on the same role as in 2002, who save the day after finally losing their tether with the evil Queen, backed by the frustrated Duchess (Sue Raffill).
As Harvey makes his escape for England through the enchnated doorway, heartbroken Alice is accidentally left behind… but was it all just a dream?
The cast had the audience laughing with the expected cheesy jokes and jibes about neighbouring towns, while the variety of favourite tunes and outrageous characters also entertained.

Playing cards and guards – Aaron Fitzpatrick, Lyn Henley, Natalie McNeice, Karen Pledger, Jerry Parkhouse, Holly Sweeney and Michelle Yates.
Rabbits – Emily Allen, Holly Eyre, Maia Jenkins, Alexander McNeice, Ella Sweeny and Lotte Thorp.
Piano - Tina Paveley; Drums - Clive Wormleighton; Double Bass - Mike Tyler.
Production team:
Producer – Susan Fouracre; Choreographer – Jo Sweeney; Stage Manager – Hilary Briers assisted by Cathy Ilsley, Eoin McNeice, Niall McNeice; Properties – Margot Sharp and Roger Bagg; Prompt – Emily Thomas; Lighting – Justin Sutherland and Graham Cumming; Wardrobe – Kathryn mason, Wendy Cann and Margot Sharp; Make-up and Hair – Sue Gardner, Jill Mole and Sheila Clare; Set Building – Terry Palmer; Set Painting – Alison Page; Poster – Simon Ford and David Clarke; Programme – Simon Ford and Roger Bagg; Banners – Jacquie McCullough; Photography – Harriot Fouracre; Publicity - Jacquie McCullough; Front of House – Terry Palmer, Michelle Palmer and CTG volunteers.

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