Do you remember your first pantomime? Me, I was eight years old. ‘Aladdin’ in our village shack with the local butcher playing the Dame.
I clearly remember the evil Abanazar when, along with the other kids, I showered him with shouts of loathing.
Tonight, sitting around the crowd of youngsters, the energy zipped between them like a faulty cable, electricity sparking as it shorted – the contagious excitement of being transported into a dream.
The Algarveans’ ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ had all the ingredients that makes for a successful panto. A good traditional plot, fast-running action and a good cast and excellent dancing and singing.
Like a well-spiced meal, the show was irresistible. The cast all played their roles to perfection. Alan Smith as Dame Trott was the perfect dame – suitably camp, attired in flamboyant costumes and skillfully milking the audience. Bethany Blakemore as Clueless Simon had the audience on her side with her extravagant gestures and good comedy acting.
The star of the show was Alexander Melo as Jack Trott, everyone’s hero. This man could be on the professional stage! Acting fluidly and with such a perfect singing voice, he was a pleasure to watch.
She herself said that her part was made for her – Madeleine Wheare was the ideal Wicked Witch. Evil personified, the kids around where I was sitting were hurling heart-felt abuse at her. I wondered whether some of them might actually breach the stage.
So good to see some of our old-timers treading the boards again with Gloria Costa regaining her wings as the good Fairy and Lara Costa at the front end of Ermintrude the cow, gesture-perfect. Well done, Joana Jacob in a difficult part as the female lead and Andy Arkle, a perfect foil for the Dame.
For me though, I spent much of the time watching the kids participating in the tussle of the forces of good and evil and spontaneously shouting out their opinions (e.g., Do you want to hear some cow jokes? No! …I know the head mistress. Yes, she’s the witch).
Congratulations to Tracey Christiansen for reigniting our enthusiasm for the good old British Pantomime. The art of staging a pantomime is more difficult than directing a regular play.
Here is one viewer who wants you to come back next year with another traditional panto, please!
The Algarveans’ ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ was performed last weekend at the Lagoa Carlos do Carmo Auditorium.
REVIEW by David Butler-Cole