Last night I was out at a pub in Somerset, The Ancient Mariner in Nether Stowey, supporting the Beach’d Buoys Shanty Band. They were doing a gig for free but having a collection to raise money for their chosen charity, Wraxall Children’s Hospice. It was a great evening, husband is a Buoy, as are our quizzing friends from the pub Mr PJ’s Ice-Cream. We met the Ice-creams through going to our pub, the Dolphin and got to know them as we joined forces for the pub quiz. Everyone but me joined a ukulele group, and from that husband and Mr PJ became founder members of the Beach’d Buoys. You may wonder what this has to do with my featured image of a magnificent pantomime dame and the cast of the Bleadon Players’ latest show, Scrooge the Panto. You see, we also met the Players through the pub quiz! Bleadon is the next village to Uphill, and since we got to know the Am-Drams (amateur dramatic group) we have been to all their shows, and this is the third panto we have enjoyed.
Their panto was exactly a week ago, in fact exactly now I was just about laughing my head off at the hilarious antics on the small stage of Bleadon Village Hall. It was a very loose interpretation of A Christmas Carol by Dickens, and told the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable skinflint who was visited on Christmas Eve by three ghosts, of the past, the present and the future. Thoroughly frightened, he resolves to mend his miserable ways and become a changed character, being a beneficent employer to his impoverished workforce, especially Bob Cratchit and his loving family.
The pantomime, which was hilarious, was a loose interpretation of the original story, told through another of the old miser’s employees, Jan Butty, a magnificent ‘dame’ played as tradition demands by a man – in this case an extremely tall man which made it even funnier. The special effects were brilliant – considering the play was performed on a small stage almost within touching distance of the audience (the closeness also meant we got well-squirted with water from a giant water pistol!) I couldn’t imagine how they were going to do the ghosts – well, they were imaginatively and unexpectedly portrayed! They arrived in a totally unexpected fashion, and although I can’t say I was very scared, I was just about crying with laughter. Despite it being a panto, I confess that soppy though it is, I am always affected by the idea of the gallant and brave and loving Cratchit family losing poor little Tiny Tim and even in the hilarity of the pantomime a did have a little gulp.
There were great performances from everyone, Scrooge was on stage almost for the whole show and unfortunately I don’t have a photo to share. It was a really fun evening, and I only wish I had seen it twice as I missed some things because I was laughing so much. Well done to everyone involved, the actors, the scenery makers, the back-stage people, the band, the publicity and organisational people who also work so hard… a brilliant team! There will be another couple of shows this year, and then in January next year will be another panto. I wonder which one will delight the audience next time?
Find out more and see more photos: https://www.facebook.com/BleadonPlayers