Sell-out run for village panto

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Burton Leonard Dramatic Society last week ended a five-night sell-out run of this year’s pantomime Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates.

Written by Limelight Scripts and adapted and directed by Gary Broad, all the elements of a traditional pantomime were present and enthusiastic audiences of all ages eagerly joined in the fun on stage.

Widow Clarice Crusoe (Andy Wells) and her son Robinson (Helen Crompton) are due to set sail with Captain Hornbucket (Mike Wray) on his ship the Rubber Duck in search of adventure in the Caribbean.

They are joined by Pippa Darling (Lydia Brogan) disguised as the cabin boy to get on board to be close to Robinson.

Meanwhile, Clarice is recruited into MI5 by Dr Defoe (Jenny Burtwistle) to help track down notorious pirate One-Eyed Dick (Andrew Glover).

Once on board, incompetent sailors Swash and Buckle (Sandra Sladen and Rita Baker) are soon revealed to be pirate spies and, with the assistance of Polly the Parrot (Gary Broad), One-Eyed Dick and his motley crew (led by Rosie Ellerby and Wendy Hyam) take over the ship.

Our heroes are made to walk the plank but, aided by Clarice’s secret agent gadgets, they find their way to Selkirk Island.

But their troubles are not over as they are captured in turn by the pirates and by a cannibal tribe whose Major-Domo (Stephen Hornsey) and Doctor (Susan Wells) need to provide a birthday meal for the King (Richard Jeeps).

They are saved from the cooking pot by vegetarian cannibal Friday (Christopher Williams) and also avoid Gladys the man-eating plant but One-Eyed Dick is not so lucky and ends up as Gladys’s lunch.

Amid all their escapades, our crew stumble across Ben Bunn (Liz Whapples) who leads them to the pirate treasure just in time for the Navy to rescue them and take them back to safety in England.

The numerous song and dance routines were a particular highlight of the show, with plenty of opportunities for other cast members (Philip Baldwin, Gina Gill, Sally Haywood, Emma Woodhead and Autumn Wray) to show off their musical talents.

The fabulous costumes (masterminded by Rosie Ellerby) made a huge impact, especially the Dame’s six extravagant frocks (Susan Wells and Theatre Royal York).

The complex set was designed by Gary Broad and painted superbly by Anne Worrall – quickly transforming from the Rubber Duck to the cannibal island.

Special mention should go to the underwater UV light show which captivated the audience.

Musical accompaniment was ably provided by Sally Haywood, Mike Wray, Wendy Knight, Stephen Hornsey and Darren Hornsey, with Darren also responsible for the lighting and sound effects. Bridget Dawson was rarely called upon as prompt and enthusiastic backstage, technical, front of house and bar staff completed the large team.