Harburn Village Hall - Panto 2015

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Reports of the death of the Harburn Players' annual panto, tom-tommed around the community a couple of years back, have plainly been greatly exaggedirector kirstyrated. 2015 saw another version of the CINDERELLA story in production and a new, dynamic and enthusiastic Director putting her head above the parapet: KIRSTY GILLESPIE (pictured ) As if she hadn't got enough on her hands looking after an eight-month old baby, Kirsty held her hand up when the call went out for someone brave enough to take the reins and whip the motley band that is the Harburn Players into some sort of shape. The packed houses of appreciative punters will testify to her success. Thursday and Saturday were sold out and Friday was not far behind. On stage, less-than-Youngsters returned in familiar guise, new faces surprised and delighted and a very young youngster or two, gave hope for future productions.

The scene was placed by another of John Wilkinson's (pictured right) spectacular sets. John WilsinsonHow he manages to squeeze so much detail into such a ridiculous space never ceases to amaze. I am shouted down when I suggest that the creaking, squeaking, halting, wheezing, rheumatic curtain could well be taken down, rolled up and consigned to the forbidding dark area below the stage. We could then enter the auditorium and have a minute or two to view the setting in low- light detail. This would certainly give the audience more time to pick out some of the 'in jokes' with which JW enlivens his woods and castles. (Pictured left is Lighting Director Denise Tracey whose lighting plot imaginatipanto 2015vely lit John Wilkinson's set) Oh I know, there'd be a mountain of complaints if the curtain was not required to limp across now and again, but alternatives to the community sing-song to cover a scene/costume change might well have been to the benefit of many a production.

What should have happened a few years back is a re-structuring of the roof...................but that's another bucket of haddock tails. Won't bore you with the plot. Mr Crocker's version, with some hacking and twisting by Kirsty, was substantially the same as normal. Best thing to pick out a selection of the memorable moments and then sling in a few of Alan Tuffs' pics.
A clever transformation from rags to ball gown and back again and Cinders (Nicola Tuxworth) is reunited with her glass slipper to the delight of Prince Charming (Lorna Maclaughlan) and all. Well, not quite all for Phil Tuxworth and John Bowman, totally unrecognisable as Rita and Cheryl the somewhat pulchritudinally-challenged (such a word?- Ed) sisters, thwarted in their ambitions to marry the Prince, are quick to show their disgust.

Below I wonder whether the sisters are aware that there is a new beauty salon at Livy South. Perhaps the Baroness (Maggie Gray) should apply for a job?
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sisters and mum
Well, well, well. Who'd have thought it ........................... a HAPPY ENDING?
No need for false legs, IT FITS!!! (below left) and below right The tension gets to the guy in the blue hoodie!
the slipper fite
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LOOK BEHIND YOU echoes through Torwhytie. (below left) and Buttons (David Dobson) seems a bit doubtful

Oh, Dandini,(Danielle Miller) is this your lucky night? 'Fraid not, the combined attentions of the sisters and their mummy (Maggie Gray) would be enough to send anyone screaming HARASSMENT (below r)
in torwytie
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Rita and Cheryl take to the floor. Make the most of it girls, your moment is nearly over (below left).
Pumpkin to coach; mouse to coachman; rags to riches and so on.........the Fairy Godmother (Katie Laird, standing left ) does her thing (below right)
sisters dance
pumpkin soach
Ahhhhh! Buttons takes Cinders to the land of Make-Believe (below left), Nobody Loves a Fairy when she's Forty - Except Harburn audiences! (below right)
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fairy when shes forty
George Watson's curriculum may not have covered floor-sweeping but Cinders puts Prince Charming right (below left), Mime Artiste par excellence (Jessica Findlay) gives encouragment to down-in-dumps Buttons and 'pinches' the scene quite comfortably! You know what they say about animals and children David!
Photos: Alan Tuffs

Words: Various