SETBACKS FAIL TO SCUPPER SCROOGE PANTO
Despite a series of setbacks including injury and illness, packed houses and repeat curtain calls helped provide positive proof that Warkworth Drama Group’s latest panto was a success.
The production of A Christmas Carol, staged in the village Memorial Hall last week, had been beset with problems since rehearsals began in September.
Regular show pianist Diana Webber was forced to quit after suffering a broken wrist whilst holidaying Scotland and less than two weeks before opening night, cast member Linda Mallen slipped on ice and broke both wrists.
And 24 hours before the first show, Margaret Collins, who was playing the Ghost of Christmas Future, had to pull out because of illness in her family.
Diana’s role was taken on by Bev Palin – already playing the Ghost of Christmas Present - who managed to flit between stage and piano despite wearing a bulky gift-wrapped costume.
And Linda refused to let her fractured limbs prevent her from putting in a storming performance as Gertie Turkey opposite Richard Brearley’s flabby but funny Tallulah Turkey.
Margaret’s role was temporarily taken on by Mick Jenkins, already cast as the Ghost of Jacob Marley.
The ‘sold out’ sign made a regular appearance during the four show run and audiences witnessed excellent performances from the 28-strong cast of children and adults.
Amongst the principal show stealers was Ralph Firth as Scrooge whose brilliant comic timing and sinister menace had the audience roaring with both laughter and traditional panto disdain.
And John Sellers as Tiny Tim, an overweight – and strangely elderly - cry-baby also had many an onlooker doubled up with mirth.
Other highlights included a cleverly lit and choreographed zombie dance by younger members of the cast to the sounds of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, and the ever-popular slapstick routines involving flour, cream and pratfalls