Technical Crew Details:
Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser
In pantomime, nothing is set in concrete. Traditions persist, but within them changes happen.
Theatre Workshop Coulsdon is as keen as any local company to extend the boundaries a little, push out the frontiers, while keeping within the broad framework. This year they have come up with what they describe as “a spoof of a distillation” of Dumas’ classic novel.
Richard Lloyd, who also directs and plays the chief baddie, has given us not one but four Principal Boys, in the “shapely” shape of D’Artagnan and his swashbuckling friends Porthos, Aramis and Athos.
Not that they, in their musketeering costumes, have any chance of showing off the shapely thighs for which Principal Boys are famous; but they are a fine crew all the same, singing and acting with all the breezy carelessness of their breed. So let’s hear it for Vanessa Hammick, (D’Artagnan) and Rosie Martin, Tanya Allison and Tina Poole.
Richard Lloyd himself plays Cardinal Richeleeugh (sic) with the voice and appearance of a Shakespearean grandee who can also stoop to the sneering mode of Villainy Incarnate, Steve North is his agent Roquefort, rather closer to the King Rat type of traditional panto.
Where I think this cleverly written piece may fall short of expectations is in the impact it will make on the kids in the audience.
Weaned on glass slippers and magic lamps, they seemed last Saturday rather puzzled by an involved plot taking in such arcane matters as royal adultery and the true Quiche of Lorraine.
Tim Young brings a nice mixture of geniality and regal amour proper to the role of King Louis, bringing the house down with his line; “Cardinal, you are the Weakest Link, Goodbye.” Anne Robinson could not do it better.
The musical part of the proceedings, directed by Mark Taylor, is of an unusually distinguished order.
The singing fully matches the comedy, which is mainly provided by Chris Argles as the rough and ready (especially the latter) Dame Desiree.
The Brokers’ Men (Les Hommes Brokeurs) are Simon Crouch and Heidi Bush, a willingly incompetent pair of buffoons.
No space to enumerate a large cast, but do give Lisa Lloyd a special boo for her slinky Malady De Splinter, even if delivered with an under-the breath “Phwoar!”