Technical Crew Details:
Reviewed by Theo Spring for The Croydon Advertiser
Director Richard Lloyd brought so many Russian references into the script he has written for Theatre Workshop, the show groaned with them in true panto style.
Devised to include scenarios “borrowed” from traditional pantos, we found the grand duchess consulting her mirror (a very clever effect) over her beauty. Borrowing the Picture of Dorian Gray theme, the Duchess does not age as long as a young girl peasant is sacrificed and this sub-plot underlies the main tale of a sinister wolf terrorising the small villages.
Peter Pyotrovich (a gung-ho Kimberley Argles) and his ‘Grandmother’ Masha (Mike Brown as a splendid Dame) lead a fistful of goodies and the show romps through its two hours and ten minutes.
Tanya Allison brings elegant evil to the vain Duchess, with Howard Payne as her black-clad co-conspirator Ivan the Cossack Chief. Steve North and David Cawley provide knockabout comedy with a hidden secret as Cossacks Dribblesnitch and Stumpitch, while the chorus turn their hand to villagers, Cossacks and general townsfolk.
Duck Molotov and cat Miska are two life-sized puppets who disperse wisdom from the safety of their wall, with poor Molotov set up as bait to catch the wolf.
Luke Argles has a resonate voice as Kolyinka the wolf, wearing a wonderful head mask.
A flirty princess (Heidi Bush) and a student agitator (Peter Bird) add good cameo roles, with Lucy-Ann Martin as Peter’s sweetheart Dasha, Neil Grew as Disputin, a mad monk and a Hooray Henry of a Captain (Chris Blakeney) complicating the tale further.
More Russian references come throughout from MD Mark Taylor and his excellent musicians and colourful costumes complete the Russian theme.